Sunday, November 15, 2015

Step by Step on the Easel - Daily Painting of Autumn Leaves - Organized Chaos Art

"Autumn Leaves," acrylic on panel, 6" x 6".

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This is my first fall up living up north in almost 20 years, and last weekend I had to rake leaves for the first time as a grown-up. And although it was laborious, I did enjoy myself, and so at the end, I went through my piles and picked out a handful of colorful leaves to paint. They weren't perfect, but I still thought they were beautiful.

I've been calling these paintings of piles of objects my "organized chaos" pieces, which I find to be a lot like painting a puzzle, making sure everything is painted in careful relationship to the adjacent parts of the painting. I took a few photos of the painting as I completed it that I thought might be interesting to share. They are posted below. Thanks for looking!
1. I start with blocking in the basic shapes and some colors. I have basic outlines of the shapes of the leaves, and I applied a grid which I erased back, so it's very faint and won't show through even thin areas of paint later on. 
2. As I keep working, my general goals are to keep refining the color, shapes and dimensions of the leaves within the painting. Some artists work methodically from grid block to grid block. I find that I have to keep bouncing around, looking at the painting as a whole, which helps me keep a more harmonious color scheme and painting style.
3. Continuing to build the textures and dimensions of the leaves. It's easy to start becoming complacent at this point and leave everything a bit washy, but continuing to add layers is what eventually makes things pop.
4. Close to finished.
5. Done, and photographed with my Nikon, not my camera phone! Thanks for looking!