Like I had mentioned in a previous post, I have to have everything worked out in a layout before I take the brush to canvas. Being a self-taught painter, I have had to come up with a few unconventional methods in order to get final results in a painting and this is the only way I can do it, this is my safety net against failure, I need to have a clear idea that this is going to be a good painting when it is finished, I really do not want to spend all that time working on a piece and just hoping that it will look good in the end, I have to know it from the start. By basically making yourself this map you are eliminating a lot of ifs, whens and buts out of the equation, this way you will feel more comfortable with your subject and more confident with your work as you proceed down the road further. I have to mention at this point that I am discussing rendering representational art, this does not apply to painting anything abstract, a subject I have yet to delve into.
There are always certain elements inside of your composition that you will favor over others and this can lead to a tendency to give them more attention than the other elements of your painting. Each element in your artwork is going to effect the others around it in some way and if there is an imbalance, the entire composition is going to suffer. I don’t want to sound like a tree hugger or anything, but I like to think of a composition as a fragile ecosystem, all of your elements have to live together on your canvas and if there is a lack of balance, the whole arrangement is just not going to work and there is going to be a lack of a feeling of control, tension and uncertainty. I find it best to work over the whole composition evenly, this way when you take a few paces back to view your painting, you will better evaluate your progress because you have minimizing distractions this way and it will give you a clearer path to the finish line. It makes it more difficult to visualize an entire painting when it is uneven because you are asking your brain to do extra work by having to mentally to fill in the gaps for yourself and this can lead to uncertainty and doubt about the final outcome of your artwork. Doing it this way will give you a more focused vision as to what you are to expect with your artwork down the road and there will be less drama, less surprises and more order in your execution.
Since you are never going to nail these areas down on perfect on your first pass, it is better to work it a little then move on and revisit it later, because as you are painting the objects around a certain area it is going to change the way you see it as your painting evolves. This works out well for those areas that you are having trouble with because it gives you more time to think it over as you travel around and tighten up your composition.
February 15, 2014