Garden Cuttings, 8 x 6, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2017
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In a recent still life workshop, I promised some of my students that I would post a process demo to reinforce our sessions. It is so easy to be intimidated by a blank canvas, and I find that it really helps me to take a systematic look at my subject matter. First I look at the overall silhouette, then I study the darks and lights, and compare, compare, compare. How does the cast shadow compare to the form shadow? How does white in the shadow compare to black in the light?
Below are shots showing my basic process of taking those observations from my eyes and head and getting them onto the canvas...
Rough sketch for placement and composition.
Using a mix of ultramarine blue and burnt sienna.
Block-in of large masses, indicating a range of 3-5 values.
Still using the dark neutral mix of ultramarine and burnt sienna.
Mass in the dark family (including cast shadows and form shadows).
Maintain simple shapes and avoid detail at this stage.
Mass in the light family, keeping simple shapes and avoiding detail.
Break up large masses with subtle shifts in value (within value families).
Last - Add pop with spectral highlights and reinforced darks.