Friday, April 4, 2014

The value of a Design Sketch

"Family Roots", Acrylic, $1500, Image:  21" x 29"
I started this painting in early February at Karlyn Holman's Paint-in.  Then, my teaching schedule got in the way, and it just sat unfinished for 2 months.  I knew that the deadline for Red River Watercolor Society Show was coming up, so I decided yesterday to tackle this painting.  I think it's really hard to pick up where I left off so long ago, don't you?  Anyway, I didn't even have the inspiration piece to look at, since I had given it to my friend, Jennifer, for her birthday.  It's 5" x 7" and is pictured below.
5 x 7 inspiration painting
I knew that I didn't like the design in the inspiration piece, but decided to keep painting, since I had a deadline looming over my head.  ( I liked the colors, but not the design.)  I would have been so wise to stop and do a simple 2 value design sketch.  The painting took me about 2 hours longer than it had to, due to me making corrections and wiping out with rubbing alcohol to reclaim my light pathway. Anyway, the good thing to come out of me flying by the seat of my pants, is that I really like the circular design of the finished painting, "Family Roots".  It's almost like the painting is swirling, directing the viewer's eye to the center of interest.  Still, I'm of the "old school" way of thinking, making a design plan before I start a painting.  Lesson learned!  I was up till 3:00 a.m. last night finishing this painting!


  1. How do you come up with this great stuff???
    hope to see some in LaCrosse

  2. What a mystical and free feeling piece you created...under pressure too! The underpainting looks so interesting. I can't wait to see it in person.

  3. Hi Karen,
    I like the swirl in the painting too - to me it is energy in the painting - "chi" - and this painting is filled with it. Each of the figures has life and story - and I want to visit each of them.

    I paint all the time the way you painted this one - that is, I paint by the seat of my pants and don't make a plan in advance. And the scrubbing is endless but it is now part of my process. Crazy, huh!

    It can be frustrating, especially when a deadline nears. This year I was stressing until I realized I had two paintings all ready to submit - then I was able to let go of the piece I had been struggling with and let it become what it wanted to become.

    Needless to say, I really like your work. All of it!




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