I recently posted a step-by-step outline of my painting A Day at the Beach (4-10-2019). A critical part of creating a significant panting is the preliminary work. I sincerely believe that the more thought I put into the piece at the beginning, the more I can work out the problems ahead of time, and the better the final result will be. Well, that’s my theory anyway.
This is another painting in my series Intimate Spaces, all about the territory that people carve out when they visit the beach. In this painting, I was sitting behind a couple who staked out their space early in the day with two chairs and an umbrella. They didn’t show up until mid-afternoon.
I liked the near silhouette of the couple with the contrast of the kids playing in the surf in front of them. Maybe they were grandma and grandpa. I don’t know and never did figure it out.
As with most of my paintings, I begin with a NOTAN sketch, just hard contrast of black and white to get a feel for the composition. Then I did a large graphite sketch of the couple. I didn’t feel a need to sketch the kids as they’re just notes really. They were painted directly.
Here are a few more examples of NOTAN sketches. You’ll notice the one from my last post of A Day at the Beach and how I was focusing on the interlocking umbrella shapes.
And the two pages of NOTAN of Jump which I created in February. With some of the bigger pieces, I’ll also do a color sketch but not always.
The final conclusion is that no matter what style of art you create, you will often have better results if you put in more thought and work into the beginning of your work than having to correct problems later. Indeed, sometimes you may discover that the scene or piece doesn’t merit following through. Or you may decide to attack it from a different direction.