I’m in the planning stages of a larger oil painting so I thought I’d share the process from the start. These are my thumbnails, ideas, and notes for “storming the castle”, a painting which will not include a castle.
I’ve been reading about neanderthal and sasquatch (as usual) and thinking a lot about the medieval myth of the wildman. I have been reading a bit about the iconography and symbolism of wild people and had a dream last night about a shesquatch with a classic old-tyme unicorn. There’s a lot of other things going into this as well but that, so far, is my base idea.
I did some additional research today and reading and took notes. I’ve also got a few pages from my sketchpad showing both the notes I took today and the sketches I did last night. I took the time to go back through and find another few pages of notes and sketches (stuff like sasquatch fur, symbols of purity and of untamed nature, like that) and cherrypicked them into this page of rough notes and sketches. (The deer-man face among those.) As I read more about sasquatch encounters and then about wildman images in the medieval era, I realized that the war there seems both metaphorical (oh, taming nature, the invention of the printing press, you know- whatever happened in the olden times) and very real. The illustrations don’t look like the ones of anomalies and “monsters” but more like the everyday scenes of people that are realistic.
In other words, I’ve decided that there is a secret history of war between us and our near-relatives, the hidden species of hominid that used to be far more common. Like wolves or bears, I think they were wiped out in most of Europe back in those days. The images of battles and ‘hunting down the wildman’ are pretty brutal and detailed. I’d call it a genocide, maybe?
At any rate, these thoughts, along my underlying mood of slight nostalgia for my younger mayhem and chaos, are starting to turn into something. These pages are the beginning of it. And this is how a really big painting always begins, for me.
I always have enjoyed drawing more than finishing, but lately since I have been doing so many commissions and smaller pieces, I’ve started to get better at time management.
I take a lot of notes early on and do a lot of small compositional sketches. I think I’m addicted to the thumbnail, as far as the part of the process I enjoy most. But at the same time I get such a good lift from seeing a big work finished, there’s really nothing to compare to that feeling, especially when I don’t feel the piece failed.
I also got a bit of progress in on this jellyfish lady today.