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How do you paint a masterpiece? One step at a time.
For some, the steps are all graceful. For most of us, it’s step (followed by breathe, look, think, feel, avoid, evaluate), and then step again. Sometimes we are sure of a step. Sometimes the step seems risky and we need to gather our courage.
This week’s assignment:
1. Think of a painting that you want to create.
2. Break the process down into steps.
3. Start taking those steps.
4. When a step seems too much, break it down into even smaller steps.
We’ll review the process using my recently completed commission of Venice. The size and subject were determined by the client. The painting needed to “match” a triptych that I painted for them a few years ago.
The subject wasn’t a natural fit with the canvas format – kind of like a square peg in a round hole. Designing the painting so that the subject would fit beautifully into the necessary proportions was the obvious first step.
I broke this design step into sub-steps. These steps included gathering all the references that I could find of the subject and doing Thumbnail Drawings to try out different compositions. The lesson on goal setting for artists might help you with this process of thinking though the steps.
Note: the hardest part for me is deciding on the next step. I don’t mind trying and failing – it’s not having a clue what to try that can leave me stumped for days. Then I try to find an even smaller step – maybe I’ll look at art books in a related style until something gives me an inspired idea of what might help my piece.
How about you? Please share your comments by scrolling to the bottom of this post.