I love to draw. And I find that drawing helps me figure things out. For me, drawing represents one of the most direct forms of thought. So drawing the large forms of the landscape helps me rehearse an image prior to painting. I don’t always draw the scene first, but I often do and I always enjoy doing so.
For the garden picture I made three preparatory drawings, one which I’ve already posted. Each of the drawings are like line readings and with each I feel that I know the motif better — just as an actor learns the character’s lines.
It’s with the spare drawing above, though, that I felt I most understood the image. I wanted to be able to render it down to its essentials. And that makes me feel really prepared to cut loose when I start painting.
I sometimes make drawings after the painting is underway because in episodes of being away from the painting sometimes I feel that I lose the thread a little and drawing helps me get back into the world of the picture. I pick up the thread again.
Even the spare lines take me back into the world of the picture again too — not only into the painting, but in this case back into the garden.
The painting and a link back to the first preparatory drawing is located here:
This garden measures 34 x 28 inches. It’s more difficult to photograph properly than usual because the canvas itself is out of square slightly and then the camera adds its own curve distortion. But these photographs are ones I’m using for tracking. Later I will rephotograph all the paintings using a better camera.
Anyway, hopefully this painting makes sense of its reference drawing that I posted last week. The relationship between drawing and painting is much clearer now. The drawing was very abstract; this painting is still very abstract (and may remain so – I’m not sure), but things begin to emerge from the roiling curved forms. I am really pleased with the painting. Sometimes a picture will start to delight you as you are painting and this one went that way.
There’s a line near the top that runs the picture’s length horizontally. That marks the boundary that conforms to the reference photo I used. The picture is in the same ratio as the photograph inside that boundary. The bit of canvas above it is invention. I left the line up to this point so that I could more easily make drawing changes to the main part of the image. But I can cover the line up now because I know that none of the changes I’m likely to make going forward will profit by knowing where that boundary falls.
The preparatory drawing that I posted previously can be found here: