Caroline Henry Art Blog
Every work of art has to have its beginnings. First there is the idea. Then the idea becomes concrete as we choose our media and mark a surface. Those beginnings are critical. They may be bold or hesitant. Some of that is personality, but there are works that I tiptoe into and others where I just start pouring paint and see what happens.
I don't think there is a single best way to begin, but there are many good ways:
1. A certain amount of organization helps make for good beginnings. Some time spent making you have a clear surface and the necessary materials at hand avoids distraction & frustration.
2. Thumb nail sketches are a must for some artists. Advantages are solving many problems ahead of time. These can be fairly quick, a way of establishing composition, value, perhaps color choices.
3. There are those who do a small study before tackling a large painting. Often this piece becomes a complete work of art in itself.
4. Even when doing plein air work under the pressure of time, a thumbnail is a good idea. It helps discipline the eye, establishing what part of infinite space you are carving out in that particular work.
5. Some works and are best done without preliminary work so that they have the vitality of the moment. An example would be the single line drawings I enjoy. Just grab a pen and focus, start to finish.
6. Many mixed media artists also enjoy feeling their way into a piece and letting it take them where it will often resulting in a delightful array of contrasts and whimsy.
I started this piece today, and it is much further along than shown here. I wanted to photograph this when it had just begun to take shape. The work is a scratchboard piece. Scratching away the surface with a tool like the one shone in the photograph exposes white clay. During the idea portion of my creative work, I decided that the black and white of the chicken would make an ideal scratch board study. I took several photographs to work from. I did something I rarely do with scratchboard--I sketched out a loose outline with graphite pencil to be sure I didn't lose my proportions. Usually I draw every bit directly with the scratchboard tools. Notice how the pattern made by the feather ends give dimension to the bird? I haven't yet decided for sure how complete to make the background, but from the very beginning I knew I would need to avoid making this one over worked.