Yesterday I ruined a few sheets of watercolour paper due to bad planning. I rushed into a painting of the rocky shoreline in Kamouraska at sunset with no direction, and the result was poor and hence never completed. Today I took out my painting compass and did a little prep work. First I did a pencil sketch to figure out the values.



Then I did a couple of sketches in limited colour palettes to figure out the colour dominance and give the painting more unity than my first try. The top sketch is a limited palette of Thalo Purple, Viridian Green and Cadmium Orange. In the bottom sketch I used Cobalt Blue, Indian Red and Yellow Ochre. I haven’t started the final painting yet but now I know where I am going. The value scheme reads better in the colour sketch on top but I prefer the colour mixes on the bottom sketch so the final painting might end up being a mix of the best parts of both of them. And instead of a warm yellow sky it will be the cool purple one. This planning doesn’t guarantee a home run but it sure gives me a better chance.


15 Comments on “Backtracking”

  1. Fleet Woodley says:

    Very new to get to see some process. Can’t wait to see the final version.

    That sky in the lower sketch is a knock by the way. Not sure it would be as strong as the purple either, but it’s still a knock out. 🙂


  2. Alison says:

    Aaaahhhh… I remember this spot well. I look forward to the painting. Thank you for sharing these starting points. Most instructive once again.

  3. kasperart says:

    Amazing to see what the process is all about. Thanks for sharing. 😀

  4. croquedessin says:

    Thanks to share your process, it’s interesting.

  5. mckitt123 says:

    boy, it’s refreshing to hear that not every single painting is a winner. Your work is so loose and impressive, and although I KNOW that planning makes for a better painting, I rarely put that into practice – thanks for the reminder. I have a piece in mind and I WILL, YES I WILL, do some sketches and value studies first!

  6. Ross says:

    That’s good… I look forward to seeing the final result. However, after all of this preparatory work (which I would never have the patience to do) and explanation, my expectations of the final painting are sky-high. Hope you can handle the pressure.

    On a separate issue, have WordPress started putting little boarders around the images of your sketches? Maybe they have been there all along but, in my mind, I seem to recall the sketches floating on a white background.

  7. dezabaleta says:

    Frankly good!

  8. Denewbie says:

    What is a painting compass? I’ve never heard of this

  9. natella111 says:

    That’s lovely! 🙂

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