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My first phase of putting paint to canvas is called blocking in the colour. This is how I choose to start my paintings. I prefer to use the blocking in process because it gives me a good perspective on how the whole painting is laid out and where everything should be.
I always start with the furthest away part of the landscape, which in majority of images is the sky.
Here you can barely see what I've done as the sky is a pale grey. I also blocked in any corresponding colour, in this case the reflection in the water below.
For the first stage of blocking in it is important to have all the panels close together so I get the connecting lines in the right places and the colours match from one panel to the next. In my limited space (ie, half of my living room) I have placed large cardboard sheets over my wall of paintings so I don't accidentally splash any paint on my existing artwork.
Next I blocked in the largest sections that have similar colour. I mix large batches of one colour on a plastic dairy container lid. I enjoy working on the sections with similar colour because I only need to add a small batch of new colour to my existing blob of paint to cover the next area. Any left over paint I move into my Masterson's sta-wet palette to use later.
Finally I keep progressing through the painting covering all the main areas of the canvas. I often start my blocking process with a light colour then add darker layers overtop to get the detail. Though sometimes I do work dark to light, it often just depends on my reference image.
Now we have a great idea of the full layout of the painting! I love this blocking in stage as there is an excitement that comes with working on a new painting for the first time. I also enjoy it as it is often mindless work, just brushing on the colour and not worrying about the details as those will come later.
What's the next step? Next I will work on filling in the detail in the second furthest away area of the landscape, the far green hill. And after that I will start playing with the details in the rocks as I think it will be fun to figure out my technique for that texture.
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