I have thought, and commented, several times that the first few minutes of a painting or drawing is the most important and today after being influenced by an online post I did two hours of grisaille figure painting starts.
The above sketch by Stephen Early was where my search started. I wanted to find out how he achieved the wonderful color and value relationships in such a simple yet superbly accomplished painting. This soon lead me to find out that Stephen Early teaches at Studio Incamminati and eventually this blog post that goes through the process. Basically a very limited palette of white, burt sienna and ultramarine blue is used to build up a very simple grisaille drawing of the figure. In another post a different palette is indicated, “a mixture of cadmium red, cadmium yellow, titanium white and a small amount of ivory black”. I believe this 4 color palette plus burnt umber was used for the painting above. But the important part is not the colors but the working and thought process.
Needless to say I was influenced by these posts and my motivation was further codified by this post in which the student indicates that the studio has them do “thousands” of starts. This is a literal number, and a nice challenge/goal to work towards. Hence after all this reading the following painting ensued.
I had a ton of fun doing these and I’m going to add the process to my “Can Do List” and try and incorporate it into my weekly process. I have so many “can do” options that I can choose from I could fill a whole day with art without repeating any.