As part of my 2017 exhibit at the Tappahannock Art Gallery, I conducted a demonstration of my painting process.

In preparing for the painting, I did eight thumbnail sketches, about 3 x 4 inches in size. This process helps me figure out my points of interest—the sunlight on the side of the shed and the field beyond the hedgerow. I work out the arrangement and size of other elements (e.g., the trees) to enhance those points of interest. Finally, in sketch 8, I determine the scale and location of values from lightest (1) to darkest (6).
thumbnail sketches
Next I cut my paper (12 x 16) and marked thirds and midpoints to guide my composition of the scene (top); sketched in the major shapes (middle); and applied the under-painting (bottom). Not pictured: I applied turpentine to set the under-painting’s pastel into the paper.
painting prep

This image shows what I completed during the demo at the gallery. I begin with the sky, lightly applying a soft Sennelier pastel, so the orange underneath comes through. I want the air to have a thick, hazy look.

I then blocked in some of the other areas (the tree line, the field, and the foreground) with dark-ish values.

painting stage 1
I took the painting back to my studio and proceeded to work out the hues in the cut wheat field, to give shape to the trees, and to blend the darks and lights. painting stage 2
Continued refining the colors and shapes, working to show more space and distance from the grass in the foreground, through the fields and hedgerow, and to the treeline in the background. Getting closer. painting stage 3

Here, I thought I was finished—even signed it—but as often happens, I changed my mind.

See the finished painting.

painting stage 4

Interested? Email me: nathan@nkpope.com

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