I've been under the weather the last couple of days, but I've had this painting of a rainstorm in my head for awhile now so I just had to get started. It doesn't look like much right now but I'm oddly pleased with it so far, particularly the hint of blue sky poking through at the top.
I'm planning to post my progress on this painting over the next week or so and maybe give a few ideas about my techniques and process for those of you interested in that sort of thing. This will be mainly clouds with just the barest hint of a tree line at the bottom edge of the canvas. Right now it borders on the abstract. I toned the canvas with a bit of burnt sienna and drew in the basic shapes in pencil.
I don't always start on a toned canvas, and I don't always start with a drawing. I don't exactly have a specific formula for my work. I will sometimes leave the white gesso instead, especially on my smaller paintings, but I do prefer to lay down a colored ground first and i usually like to have some kind of drawing to start, either in pencil or charcoal or occasionally thinned paint. Toning a canvas is an old tradition in oil painting, but for me it actually goes back to my years of painting in soft pastels on colored paper. The bit of color underneath kind of unifies the painting and adds a shimmering depth to colors when allowed to show through a little.
Tomorrow iI'll probably lay in a bit of the trees at the bottom and the darker masses of the clouds. Stay tuned...