Tuesday, September 14, 2010


I've been somewhat frustrated by how long some of my paintings have taken to complete. I attribute part of the problem to rework created by attacking the canvas without building a stronger foundation. So, I figured I'd draw a detailed sketch of the subject before painting and see how far that took me.

The subject matter for the current Rookiepainter Challenge Eleven is a still life of a sliced lemon. I began this art challenge by first downloading and printing the reference photo. I then worked on a 6"x 8" detailed graphite drawing to understand the scale,the relationships of the objects, and the location of the lights and darks.

It surprised me that I spent only 4 or 5 hours on the drawing. I've always enjoyed pencil drawing and began when I was very young tracing pictures of horses in a "Book of Knowledge" encyclopedia set. The tracing paper was some old "onion skin" typewriter paper that was kept around the house. (Long ago I used a No. 2 pencil for tracing the pictures of horses, but for the lemon drawing I used HB through 8B pencils and woodless pencils and nothing was traced.)

Using the reference photo and my grayscale graphite drawing, I proceeded to do an underpainting wash with Burnt Sienna and Gamsol on an 8"x10" canvas board. Because I had done the pencil study and gained understanding of the values, the underpainting went quickly. It was really easy to wipe off to lighten over-saturated areas and darken other areas. I'm unaware of passing time when I'm painting, but I think the underpainting took less than 3 hours - which was much faster than I expected. This was my first Burnt Sienna underpainting for a still life.

Burnt Sienna is a fast drying earth color, especially when thinly applied. So, the following day I was able to begin the final painting. One or two more sessions should wrap it up.


Angela said...

I am glad you did the rookie painter challenge or I would have never found your website. I love your art. So beautiful and fresh are your paintings.

Dabblerteer said...

Thank you so very much, Angela!
The touch of whimsy you mix into your paints always makes me smile when I visit your blog.