Starting a new painting

The canvas has been sitting in our living room for several weeks while I’ve been doing sketches, messing around with photos, trying to decide what best to paint. This is going to the be first thing you see when turning into the living room, and it needs to be something we both like, since we’ll be seeing it every day.

Nick is very happy for me to paint whatever I fancy, but of course I want him to be happy with the end result. I’ve shown him various photos, asking him what he thinks, telling him what I’m planning and reassuring him it’s going to be OK (!) – I’m not sure he’s convinced by the image I chose in the end but I’m hoping he’ll be won over. A canvas this size plus the paint isn’t cheap, and I don’t want to waste our money, or my time.

So yesterday I finally marked up the canvas and today I’ve painted the ground colour. The charcoal marks are to help me get the composition right – you can probably make out what looks like two long foreground figures, a child and a groyne/breakwater, but I don’t think the end result will be as ‘realistic’ or representational as this, at least, I hope not. Also, the entire painting won’t stay yellow. But I will definitely need more. The tube of Lemon Yellow is all used up and I’m short of White, so I’ve got Lemon Yellow, Cadmium Yellow and Titanium White on order.

yellow ground going on the canvas

I’m nervous about painting it all in situ like this – however much I protect the floor, the furniture or the walls I know paint is going to end up where it shouldn’t. I can’t really have a wet canvas leaning up against our fairly-recently-painted walls. Plus I prefer not to have my work-in-progress under daily scrutiny! So the next step is to find a suitable perch for the canvas where I can throw paint around, experiment and make plenty of mistakes (usually what happens!). The summerhouse perhaps – although it needs a bit of a clean up and reorganisation first.

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