Tuesday, September 11, 2018

From Sketch to Something Grander

Sapphire Night Sketch
Oil on paper, 10 x 12.5


Sapphire Night
Oil on panel, 20 x 30

Many years of formal training as a music performance major in college taught me the value of etudes, those brief, highly technical snippets of music that form the essential foundation of performing ensemble pieces. I carry this discipline with me today in my visual art career by creating practice runs of complex ideas via initial sketches and studies.

Sometimes it's hard for me to restrain myself because I'm so jazzed about an idea that I want to dive into a big, blank canvas and start slinging paint. But initial studies always pay dividends by allowing me to emphasize what I want to communicate and identify any potential pitfalls in my design.

Lately, I've been digging Arches oil paper for this purpose. I can focus on an idea and get the details ironed out before tackling a larger composition. Sketches, by virtue of their smaller size and confined time commitment, are less pressure packed, and often result in a fun personality that I really like.

Here are a couple of recent examples from my cityscapes featuring subjects in New York City and London. The smaller sketches are slightly different in ratio from the finished works because I originally created these as options for a client who commissioned me for a custom painting. Nonetheless, these initial studies helped me work out the ideas before scaling up to bigger versions of the motifs. I think you'll see the relationship here in the side-by-side comparisons. Enjoy!

London Twilight Sketch
Oil on paper, a10x 12.5


London Twilight
Oil on canvas, 32 x 48