Starting to paint.
Before we start to paint we need to work out what we will be doing, what subject and why. There are a few golden rules, as I like to call them. I shall make a list of what I consider to be quite important things to be thinking of when you are beginning to do a sketch. First of all I think light is number one.
That sounds pretty obvious I know but you would be amazed at how many paintings you can see that seem to have very little light in their content. The result is sometimes a very nice painting that could look nicer, if only.
To avoid your painting looking flat you need to loo k for a light source it may come from an artificial source but almost always it will come from the sky. If that is the case it is reasonable to expect a shadow or two to appear somewhere in the painting.
Perspective is an awful word but I must use it. Next I would say is tone and contrast. Last I would say is colour itself. Why colour is last will become clear later. Light is top of my list because if you do not have light you cannot see.
Next I rate composition as very high in order of importance; together with the light it will make a successful painting of almost any subject. The trouble is that when you look at paintings that have been well thought out the composition is not immediately apparent, it is satisfying to the eye and it ‘looks right’. On the other hand one painting with ill thought out composition will always look ‘not quite right’ and you may never know why. Composition is all about content and position of content, I was once told that ‘what you leave out is as important as what you put in’ and I have found that to be true.
If you are painting say an old farm house and it looks a bit one sided re- arrange the landscape that is around the main building, if you think that a tree would make it look better, paint a tree. I quite often find that any old sheds or outbuildings can be re-positioned a little to make the balance look better.
Whatever it takes just do it, no one is ever going to know the difference. You can add anything that is sensible. Whatever you choose to add, try and position it in a logical place so that it leads the eye into the view that you are going to paint, for example you could use a hedge or a ditch a stream anything, even the sky itself, you will be amazed at the different cloud formations that are available for the artist to use to aid painting.