Wednesday, 16 December 2009

The benefit of small studies

It is tempting to put a large canvas up on your easel and start painting straight away. However, a small study made before a larger work acts as a roadmap and the investment made upfront pays tenfold. One of the main shortfalls of beginner painters is an inability to see in the burgeoning stage of a painting the potential of the finished work. Because of the insecurity this creates, there is a tendency to push too far the degree of finish in a single area of the painting before moving on a repeating the same, rather than developing the work as a whole.

"Night roadwork" - Oil on panel (6" x 8") - the initial study

A preliminary study works as a rehearsal for the finished work. It is a good way to resolve composition issues. Small studies done on site are also ideal to capture fleeting moments and bring these impressions you had during a field trip into the studio.

Digg this! - Oil on canvas by Benoit Philippe

When you plan to paint a large painting from a photograph, executing a smaller version of the subject is an excellent way to put distance between you and the photograph. When you paint the smaller version, you start to see and think as a painter and edit out all the unnecessary details that photographs can offer.