The Process Behind 'Welcome' #2


Missed Part 1? Click Here.

Let's continue with my look at the creation of my painting 'Welcome'. After the whole free association business that I rambled on about last time, I actually start to put pencil to paper and start sketching some initial ideas. This could be in the form of thumbnail sketches to help me get a feel for the composition or sketches of important components.

In the case of 'Welcome', I used both techniques to arrive at the idea for the mask. I spent a lot of time looking at and researching Venetian masks and the meanings behind the different types of masks. The type I chose was a Volto mask. Vivo Masks states that historically these masks "guaranteed complete and utter anonymity as no part of the face shows". This was perfect for what I wanted. I tried out some small sketches to get a feel for the general look of the mask and when I was happy I had a go at a larger sketch. I settled on a final design relatively quickly, although changes were made in the finished painting.

I used Photoshop extensively in the planning stage of this painting. I had taken some photos of the bleak landscape I required at Hatfield Moors, near Doncaster. Interestingly the place that I chose is the site where a plane crashed in World War II. It was on its way back to Finningley. One person survived the crash only to die on the moor not far from the plane. There are still some small fragments of the plane there now on the small hill shown in the painting (although the actual hill isn't rocky in the slightest). I tweaked the landscape to make it darker and added a new broodier sky. Then it became a collage job to put together the character from a variety of sources.

In the planning stages, I love the flexibility that Photoshop gives me. I can try out ideas quickly and I can always go back to previous versions if I'm not happy. One problem that I noticed though was that I spent a little too long (read that as far too long) fiddling about and making a half decent job of the final image on screen that I would then use as my reference for painting from. On the painting that I'm busy with at the moment, I rectified this and only developed a very rough version that was enough to solidify the composition.

The reasons why I don't use Photoshop for my finished paintings are that due to the personal nature of my paintings I wanted to work in a more personal media, one where my hand mixes the paint and applies it to the board, and I also feel that paintings created in Photoshop have a similar feel to them. Don't get me wrong, I like that feel for certain subject matter, I just didn't feel that it was right for this series of paintings. Maybe I'll work solely in Photoshop at some point. We'll see...

For Part 3, Click Here.

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