Planning a Painting step 2


I am continuing to share with you the planning I do as I approach the start of a new painting. . Here are the photographs I’m using as reference for my new painting.  I only work from my own photographs, therefore I’m not copying another artist’s images. Each photo helps me see & understand the drawing I need to do when planning the composition.  Since drawing is my weakness, I needed to find a way to make this  work for me.


4 Values
Original Photo
Black & White
White Outline/Edges


Now I am ready to  start my small studies. I will do several, 4×6 or 5×7, quick, single color, painted sketches. These help me work on the composition and help me see how the painting looks. Here is where I define the focal point and find my values. I might not have noticed the shadows falling on the bench if it wasn’t for the B&W photo. I like the leaf shapes in the front of the bench which are clearly visible in the 4 value & white edge photos.

I paint several of these studies using only one color, which allows me to focus on the shapes & values, and not on my color palette.


Small Study 1
Small Study 2


Working the painting through these steps I find is extremely useful for me. It takes away any fear I have of drawing the subject. After doing several small studies I feel confidant, I’m no longer giving any thought to how the drawing will come out, I already know how it will look and that I CAN DRAW it.

I have clearly defined my focal point, the light foliage in front of the shadowed bench. I can make this a lush plant or a basket full of bright flowers. That area is also an entry point to help bring the viewer into the painting.

I like the upper right corner, it brings depth & sunlight into the painting, yet it doesn’t distract from the focal point. This area might have been overlooked if I had not done the photo in white edges, which helped show me the importance of that corner.

I will  vary the edges within the painting, making both soft & hard edges and lost & found edges. Hard edges and strong contrast where my focal point is and lost, soft edges elsewhere throughout the painting.

I’m looking forward to beginning my larger painting.  I’ll have fun choosing a color palette. This is where the excitement begins. Putting fresh pigment on  paper, with confidence, having a well thought out plan, I believe this will be a fun painting.


Please do your own studies of my photos and send them to me so I can post them here on my blog. Share your art with me.


Paint with Me



~ by Lorraine Rimmelin on February 6, 2010.

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