The first stage was to transfer the grid design from the smaller paper format to the four by eight plywood sheet. That done... I quickly added a very rough addition of the compositional elements in pencil... just to make sure that the composition was balanced. I quickly jumped into laying down an acrylic burnt sienna "hardening" of the pencil mapping to allow me a confident visual pathway to begin applying the first acrylic pigment in the painting process.
These are the instruments of joy... making big strokes that quickly cover eliminate that white blur... consolidating one's inner landscape vision without pressure or a plodding pace. It is indeed a form of dance for me personally - pure freedom of the eye ... hand and heart in unison.
Day One - Mapping
One can feel secure at this very juncture in the process... that a landscape does indeed now exist... even at this early stage. Passing visitors... some who know the islands well could identify the scene even from this rough beginning. If you look closely, you can see a very slight wash of transparent burnt sienna even tints the white sky area. This will help get rid of the distracting glare which direct sunlight on the piece creates later in the morning.
This mapping exercise required less than fifteen minutes to pout in place. I allowed it to dry the rest of the day and overnight. This allowed me to look at at correct areas that seemed incorrect before I began laying in pigment washes.
First Layers of Paint
This jpeg reveals the first session, lasting about an hour during which I quickly washed in transparent layers of pigment... tinting the drawing sufficiently enough to reveal a definite direction for fuller colour and light. It is still very much unfinished... but it surely adds one a vantage point to judge the next phase.
I left it to dry completely overnight... and again to sit and look at it more closely later in the day when onlookers would not be about. Having people watch has never bothered me. But because the acrylics dry so very quickly in the summer warmth... it is imperative to work quickly and without delay in an attempt to preserve precious and costly palettes of paint. Some folks are unaware of that fact and want to discuss. I politely set down the ground rules and describe my problem... in the hoipes that they understand my dilemma. A deaf ear works... if they persist.
A Trap Avoided
My progress in reaching this stage so quickly so encouraged me that it led me to quickly into complacency. I had become carried away dangerously... by the sirens of my inner creative spirit. I was so overcome by my "achievement" that I had lost hold of my rudder of reality. I had launched into that empty void of white space confidently... but too cockily.
But a passing conversation with a friend builder Chris... who knows Zavicon intimately brought me crashing back to earth... feeling crest-fallen. Chris is a puckish and playful,, but knowledgeable "man-about-the-river.. or "River Rat" who loves to wordsmith and "play" in conversation. Rather than the expected pat on the back.. he quizzically offered, "What are you painting today Bruce?" It was his sly way of gently inferring... "That's not the Zavicon I know. You're off base friend!"
I immediately came back to the house and went through the numerous references from every angle that I had taken. Here again, multiple references though not used primarily can provide useful information and tools for understanding the subject that is hidden in the chosen viewing point.
The problem was the actual main house. I had misread... and misinterpreted what was hidden by the pine trees. I had read roof extension to the right... rather than double dormers one above the other an that bit into the interior rather than just out as is usual and a screened sun porch that bit into the interior of the house rather than jut out as is the usual case. "See.... don't look!"... I had broken one of my own rues of practice.
Here is the corrected version (which Chris chucked at)... and gave two thumbs up!
THis jpeg captures the changes made... the final lay in... thanks Chris!... and the first day of the fine tuning and adding of detail. Now the real fun and joy arrives. I will try to control the smaller brushwork... to maintain the present loose and "painterly" appearance of the piece.
A great way to send August on its way. A final extra glance back (from ashore) offered by this mural... to departing summer island folk... at their "Island Heritage."
I am greatly blessed...
Stray tuned for the finale later in the week. I hope to wrap it all up by week's end. Fingers crossed for the good weather that is forecast.
Good Painting!!... to All!!!!