Underpaintings build confidence for a painter’s process

Underpainting for "October City" painting, KGT, 2013

Underpainting for “October City” painting, detail, KGT, 2013

It’s feeling good to be back to painting again. When I take time off from painting work, to get a fresh perspective, I sometimes feel “rusty”.  Best to just jump back in, full throttle, and it all comes back as we work. Do you feel this to be true as I do? I think this is likely true for any person working in the arts.

My process in painting is to work in layers of paint, building up the entire composition until the finish. My under layer establishes the values and gradations of values which give me effects of light. Here I am introducing black/white/grays but also ultramarine (cool blues) and Phtalo blue (warmer, turquoise blues) and their mixed values with black and white.

"October City", 8 x 10", acrylic, study for larger painting, KGT

“October City”, 8 x 10″, acrylic, study for larger painting, KGT

Now I have a city. It’s become a real place for me to envision. Windows show where people are living, roads and streets take me further into the background to a plaza behind the close up buildings.

Next I will mix up some new colors to expand the palette for the finished painting.

It’s good to be back painting in the studio again. Time off is great to explore other media, like fabric and art quilt making. We learn from every new project we try, from every success or failure. Failures are not really bad, they are lessons toward the resolution of a problem. They are necessary.

On to more painting!

I’d love to hear how you get back into working at your craft again, when you feel “rusty” and a little tentative about making something new again. It’s not always easy!

Thanks for reading,



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