Final Painting – Blocking in

I decided to stop procrastinating and get on with doing a proper painting from my Golden Gate Bridge study.

Again, I started with a canvas I had toned after a failed painting attempt earlier in the week.

I wanted the drawing to be as accurate as possible, so rather than sketching it in with paint, I decided to use a pencil to sketch in the shapes, so I could be more precise:

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Then I blocked in the entire painting, using my previous colour study as a guide. This made it much easier to mix the colours I needed and quickly check that I had the value relationships right from the start.

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The final stage of the block-in is to go around the painting using a dry brush to soften certain edges. In general you don’t want any sharp edges in the far distance, and edges of shapes with a similar value can often be softened, especially in the darks.

You may not see much difference between this image and the previous one, but there are quite a few less sharp edges, giving the painting more of a feeling of depth.

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I can already see certain areas that I’ll need to adjust in the next stage. The drawing isn’t quite right on the closer bridge tower, so I’ll need to work on that. Also the dark accents on the pieces of land jutting out into the water, shouldn’t be as dark as the shadow on the closest rock, so I’ll need to lighten those up a bit.

The rest of the painting will involve adding detail and colour variation, to unify the parts of the painting into a pleasing whole.

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