The Making of A Masterpiece, Part III


(1,2,3,4) The stretched canvas for the big painting is 6’x4’. Jack places the empty canvas and the preparatory sketches side-by-side. He begins the master work by lightly drawing in the tree trunks and rocks using raw umber over a pink wash.

All the plein air oil paintings and drawings were arranged on an easel next to the larger canvas, so that Jack could refer to them as he composed his large painting. Jack employs a couple of step stools, as well as raising and lowering the painting on his easel, in order to reach all areas of the large canvas.

 (5,6,7) Here are 3 more photos of Jack as the painting progressed. With multiple step-ladders, he was able to slowly build up his form from a general shadow and light to more refined detail.

(8,9,10) Jack mixed large piles of value scales for green, gray, blue and violet, which was kept on a glass palette on his taboret, and used a hand-held palette for mixing the exact color/value to be applied on the large painting.   Throughout the process, Jack refers to his drawings and paintings that were done “on location”.  These were not used to make an exact duplicate, but to use as a reference to compose the finished painting, moving and editing elements to improve design.

 (11,12,13) Now at this stage, Jack works from the general to the specific, carefully setting up his under-structure and constantly adjusting the rhythms and unity.  The last picture shows Jack in the Winslow teaching studio with the large piece.

The original plein air study was 18″x12″.  Jack went back to the spot several times to complete this little outdoor study.  The large painting evolved over about 6 months.  Layers of glazes over impastos and passages in the under-painting help create the dimension and atmosphere.  The large painting is not meant to look like a photograph.  It is a composed, designed, and inspired by the plein air studies (both oil sketches and pencil sketches) to look beyond the facts and see something more beautiful, a visual poem based on color, rhythm, light and harmony.  

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About mgalleryoffineart

Owner of M Gallery of Fine Art in historic Charleston, SC
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