Good Bones

You sometimes hear people talk about a house or garden with a strong structural foundation as having “Good Bones”. The same applies in painting. The initial sketch on the canvas acts as the skeleton or “Bones” of the piece. If it is not correct, there is a lot of pain incurred as the painting progresses, trying to make corrections. Believe me, I’ve fought through that pain when I rushed the beginning sketch. Using a thin wash of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + Liquin I’ve started with the placement of the key element in the foreground, the outdoor cafe.

After getting the perspective of the tables, chairs, wine bottle and glasses worked out I move my focus to the building on the left. Once the doors and windows are drawn I wash in the dark areas with two glaze mixtures. MUD + Liquin and Ultramarine Blue + Liquin. I want these areas to retain some translucency as shown in the image on the right. When the windows and door are painted over the darkened area it will appear as if there is something in the room through the glass. On the right side of the door you can see I had to move the base of the flowerpot. The container was blocking the entry where I first placed it.

The building on the left is now complete. Even though I could use the computer to view my reference material I prefer to use actual photos for a piece as complicated as this. Maybe I’m just old-fashioned but it’s easier for me. I can study several photos at one time to combine elements.

To draw the complex architecture of the Library of Cestus I first print a picture on regular paper. Using  a red Sharpie pen I make a grid starting with a box around the structure; Top, Bottom and Sides. Diagonals are then drawn from corner to corner, establishing the center point of the ruins. A fine red Sharpie is used to make upright lines at the left side of each column.

A corresponding grid is penciled on the canvas. Using the reference points from the photo I sketch the Library in the background.

The initial sketch is done, ready for paint tomorrow. If you would like to see any of these pictures larger just click on the image. Presto! It will magically enlarge. Have a great day. Hugs, Mikki Senkarik

PS. Just a little reminder. The eBay auction on my special Valentine’s Day painting, Touched by Romance, ends Saturday at 8 PM in Texas. That’s 9 PM on the east coast, 6 PM on the west coast.  Click here to go to the eBay auction.

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