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.