Critical Process Principle: A painting should be developed as a Whole. This is in contrast to, for example, painting
the background, then the middle ground and finishing with the foreground. Painting all portions of the work together helps ensure
a pleasing composition, balance, and continuity throughout the work.
The Painting Process. I, typically, use
a two-step or three-step process, depending upon the amount of detail in the painting and the finishing techniques that I expect
to use. In most cases, only two steps are required. In any case, I complete each step for the whole picture before I proceed
to the next step.
The First Step: Roughing-in. Roughing-in the picture involves laying in each section of the work
in order to get the general value and hue for each major element. In cases where I have a dominant feature, such as a middle or foreground
tree(s) or building(s), I typically rough-in these first so that I can be sure that I am pleased with their form before I take
the time and effort to work on the rest of the picture. I also work from dark to light. That is, I lay in the dark areas before
proceeding to the lighter areas. The dark areas control the balance, visual weight of the painting and are critical to creating a
The Second Step: Primary Finishing After roughing-in, I complete the painting, except
possibly for some final details, by working from the darker to the light values. For instance, if painting snow that may
have three values, I first paint the darkest area, the shadows, and then the light areas and, lastly, the brightest area when the
sun may be reflecting.
The Third Step: Final Details Certain works may call for some final details that are easiest
when done on dry or tacky paint. These may include as glazing or adding very bright highlights.
The dark areas control the balance,
visual weight, of the painting and are critical to creating a pleasing composition.
A Final Note: It is very important
to regularly stand back and view the painting from the distance at which it will most probably be viewed - typically, about 6 feet.
Doing so helps to ensure that the work is developing as you wish and many times you will see things that were not planned but, in
fact, are a great element to the work.