This page describes the process that a painting goes through before completion. For me the process varies within each body of work and an artist never discloses all of his or her techniques...
Firstly, within my series 'Dynamic Architecture', the structures are always based on a real piece of architecture that exists somewhere in the world and full credit must be given to the architects and designers who are endowed with such vision as to create these amazing structures.
As a starting point I make a simple linear line drawing on gridded paper of the shape and form of the structure I am interpreting. Using graph paper allows a certain degree of accuracy necessary in making the structure look right. I usually embellish the structure within this drawing with ideas of my own - adding lines, forms and shapes, editing and manipulating as I see it. This drawing is generally to scale as the paintings themselves are only small. The drawing is what I consider to be a 'master image' that will dictate the outcome of the painting. This drawing is transferred onto a prepared canvas in pencil and small alterations are made at this time - to correct perspectives and areas that are overly detailed or complex, for example.
The next stage is to decide on a palette or colour scheme for the painting. Usually this is guided by the colours of the real-life building, in the case of Frank Gehry's Guggenheim in Bilbao, there is a lot of shimmering silvery-gold in the large panels that form the outer shell of the building. I used silver and gold paints to mix a variety of shades of gold and in mixing the various blues in the structure. Colours tend to develop naturally as the painting progresses but I begin by mixing a few key colour variations. The background colour is usually one of the last areas of attention as it is often a balancing act between which areas are dry enough to work over. For this reason I often have 3 or more pieces on the go at once. The average time for a piece like this is between 3 & 5 days including stretcher preparations.
Oil on linen, 30.5 x 25.5 cm
© All images Copyright of James Keniston 2008