The start of creating a painting, begins with the most enjoyable part there is. I even think it is the best part, just like Christmas. The week before Christmas you let your mind work about all the preparation ahead. Where to put the tree, how to decorate, what to eat, and which movie to watch after the first day of Christmas has passed.
Exactly the same with painting. First there is an idea and then an image in my head. What do I want to do with it? Do I want to paint, draw, or just put in storage for something even greater? If the image sticks, I start making a story around it. When the story really fits the subject, the whole image starts to emerge. When that moment arrives, I usually am stoked, and I really have to start collecting the materials I need.
And that’s where the next enjoyable part sets in.
Going to the art supply store.
In layman’s terms…. Shopping.
I have a renewed an old favorite store of mine. One that I forgot ever since I didn’t have to go to school in Amsterdam anymore, after I became ill.
Ramon reminded me of the store, after my usual supply store didn’t have what I needed.
So off we went to Amsterdam, and like a kid in a candy store, I wanted to touch everything, and after the touching, I wanted to buy everything! After spending way to long gazing through all the shelves in the store, resulting in totally forgetting what I came for, Ramon gently pushed me to the counter, to focus on the task at hand. Making sure I didn’t forget anything from my list, and finishing my order. Off course there slipped a brush or two,
three, six……. into my hands, while drooling over the gazillion different kinds.
Happy accidents I call them.
‘Oh noooos, Ramon…. look what slipped into my hands….
Well, now I have to buy these as well, because I can’t remember which pot they came from….’
In the meantime the preparation continues. Making pictures of the things I want to paint.
Ramon took me for a drive through the farmland, in search for cows grazing the fields. The day was warm and sunny, and every time we spotted cows, Ramon drove as near as he could, so I could make pictures up close, to get every detail. It was quite an adventurous drive, and it still makes me smile when I think about it.
And then it begins.
The blank canvas doesn’t stay blank for long. But I always hesitate when I have to start. Because once the first line is drawn, the image becomes reality, and there is no point of return.
I sketch the image roughly on the canvas. Trying out the design, making it fit the size of canvas. When I am content, I start to paint.
Painting with oil paint, you work with layers. So you start with the basis.
I started with the clouds and then made my way to the skyline, and the rest of the landscape. While creating the grass, the painting really starts coming to life. I remind myself of my sketch, and make a rough doodle with the basic color the subject holds, to make their place in the picture.
I usually take a step back at this time, and just let it stand on the easel to see if it’s the right setting. When it is, I continue to work things out, adding more detail. I always tell myself the story of what’s happening in this picture when I paint, and sometimes more things are added. In my story there once came a farmer, driving on his tractor to go see his cows. But when I showed it to Ramon, we both agreed this was too much, not adding anything extra to the picture. So the farmer had to go. And that’s the great thing about oil paint. If it doesn’t agree with you, then you just remove it by using a piece of cloth dipped in turpentine.
When the painting is done, I let it dry, but sometimes still little details are added or changed. When it’s drying on the easel, I keep looking at it from different angles at different times of the day. When I’m completely satisfied, I give it a small signature that doesn’t stand out too much. Then I finish the painted canvas with two layers of varnish.
My baby is ready to be shown to the world.