If you're not doing any preparation before beginning your paintings, you may be missing out on one of the biggest progress boosters in your painting tool-kit.
When working in the studio, it's a good idea to use some of your time to explore and prepare for the paintings you have planned. No matter how you how you paint, loose, tight, whatever. You will benefit by these steps:
1. Decide what you want to emphasize about your subject, and then compose everything with that focus in mind.
2. Do several small, quick notan doodles with a view toward organizing the shapes as being distinctly in the light or shade. These don't need to be any bigger than a business card. Plan to emphasize the one thing you want to emphasize. Whether outside or in the studio, do not try to copy your subject from from nature or photo. Use your reference to derive the information you need. Don't just take dictation. It's no fun and you'll soon tire of the drudgery. Leave stuff out that doesn't support your focal idea.
3. Simplify your subject into a few big shapes, without any detail.
4. Finally, do a quick, small, val-hue study. (4x6, 5x7, 6x8) Take care with choosing your values. They're the key to the success of your painting. If your value shapes are rightly related, you're way down the road towards beautifully related hues.
Now, use your val-hue study as your primary reference to create your painting. Don't copy color from photos, they're all wrong. The shadows are way too dark, and colors are wild and disorderly, and the values cannot be trusted.
©Jimmy Longacre 2017
6X8 oil on canvas panel
subjective realist landscape paintings