Getting all the elements of a composition to work together is difficult when working completely from life. This is compounded to a much greater degree when you are working on a scene that you cannot necessarily see or find in the world. It is extremely useful in these situations to do various preliminary studies to ensure that the image will come out the way you would like it to.
Here are some of the working drawings and studies done for a painting I did that was recently featured in American Arts Quarterly ( Spring 2010 edition) and can be seen at the John Pence Gallery in San Francisco.
The drawing of the figure was done from life and is graphite on paper. In it I was focusing on the proportions of the figure, the play of light on the forms, and trying to give it the right mood or expression. The perspective study was then done to both invent the environment and understand how the figure would exist in that space. After that, came the oil sketch which was executed from imagination using the drawing and the perspective studies to come up with an image. Then the final image was painted from these studies with the still-life elements set-up in the studio and painted from life into the environment.
The title is “The Lotos Eater” and is 24”X60” oil on linen.