This is a demo painting that I did for a small class back in September.
Colors were first pre mixed into about 9 or 10 main piles on my palette. That way I could compare the colors to each other and make some adjustments.
Then I blocked in the main shapes in Step 1 to show my students how to quickly build up the masses first with no modeling.
The goal was to just paint a flat shape of each pre mixed color.
We were all painting from the same photo and compared as we went along.
"Rooster and Hens" Step 1, Frank Gardner © 2008
Step 2. Once the canvas was pretty well covered, I started to adjust the shapes to get a more accurate drawing.
The focal point is around the rooster, so I started adding smaller shapes there first to define that area.
The hen in the back is not in the focal area, so I left that one rather vague. The silhouette is what describes to the viewer what it is.
"Rooster and Hens" Step 2, Frank Gardner © 2008
Step 3. I wanted to maintain simple shapes throughout the painting without breaking them up too much. I tried to add just enough detail to the alfalfa on the ground so you can tell that there is something there.
I was working all over the painting at once trying to unify the design without overworking any one area.
"Rooster and Hens", 10" x 8" oil on linen, Frank Gardner © 2008
One thing that I like to do often is have a few brush strokes of a light value break into a darker mass, and in the same area, put a few strokes of a darker color into a light mass. I think that helps in the transitions from one mass to another. You can see it well around the rooster's head with the green in light and shadow. Those strokes are similar in size to the blue and orange on the tail feathers. There are also two similar strokes of dark green by the rooster's front leg or behind the hen's tail. Similar sized strokes like that help move the eye from one spot to the other. adding vitality to the painting. For this painting I wanted to keep your eye popping around a bit, kind of like the action of the rooster and hens pecking around in the alfalfa.