“Of the Land” creative process

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I’m pleased to report that my painting, “Of the Land”, was accepted into the 28th Oil Painters of America National Juried Exhibition, hosted by the Illume Gallery of Fine Art in St. George, UT. The show ran through the month of May and ended on 7 June. Being notified that the painting sold made it even more special, so, I thought I’d share with you the creative process behind its creation.

But, before I do, let me say to those of you that enter juried art shows and know what it feels like to receive that rejection notice, know that you are not alone. I certainly receive what I consider my share. It never feels good, so I empathize with you. Fortunately, I’ve had a good run lately, but I don’t think for a minute that another rejection letter is not a real possibility.

So, for those of you that missed the cut once again, I urge you not to give up, don’t criticize the process or the judge’s selections; use it as a time to humbly and honestly evaluate your work; commit yourself to continual learning and application of things learned, and…unwavering persistence.

…And now to the painting (Click images to enlarge)

This is the resource photo I used, taken many years ago before digital photography. This is a digital photo of the 4 x 6 inch print. It was marked up some years ago when considering it for a possible painting…which never materialized. There’s a time for everything, and the time for this painting came in 2018.

Two years ago I took a 5-day workshop with Joe Paquet, I’m still trying to process and apply all that I learned. One of the major takeaways was the way he blocks in a painting. Using a mixture of Cobalt Blue and Ivory Black, he blocks in all the shadows of the painting…using white where needed to adjust the value. Here, I am applying his teaching. The surface used for this painting is 1/8″ Jack Richeson Premium Gessoed Hardboard, toned with a mid tone gray.

The Cobalt Blue, Ivory Black block-in of the shadows is complete. This is the foundation of the painting and already pretty well describes how the completed piece will hold up.

The palette for this painting was Ultramarine Blue, Cadmium Red, Burnt Siena, Yellow Ochre, and Titanium White. Many of you know I use a very limited palette. I love the challenge of it and the color harmony that comes almost automatically. If you want to know more about my color theories, I hope you’ll order my book and video mentioned at the end of this blog post.

Beginning with the focal point, application of color begins. Care is taken to match the values that have been established in the block-in. Appropriate color and value are then applied to the areas in light.

Application of color is pretty well advanced at this point. You won’t see the struggle I had with the foreground…five attempts, five wipe outs before arriving at something I was happy with.

If I can remember to do so, in the future I will also include a black and white version of the completed painting. This step will clearly show the importance of accurate values in determining a painting’s mood.

“Of the Land” – 12″ x 16″ – Oil…There is a noticeable difference between the step-by-step images and the final image. The process images were shot in the studio, the final painting shot professionally. In any case, I hope you have found the process informative and helpful.  

Next week: “The Pros and Cons of Art Competitions”

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I’m pleased to announce the release of my latest teaching video and book. The video and accompanying book, shown here, along with my first video, “Limited Palette Landscape”, include everything I’ve taught in my workshops. You can now take my oil painting workshop right in the comfort of your home, and for a lot less money than physically being present. (Click image to learn more)

To own an original painting from the book, please click HERE


John Pototschnik is an Art Renewal Center Living Master. To view his art and bio, please click HERE.


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