This phase is actually perhaps the most intimidating because of the emptiness. To stare at a big canvas and not really know for sure what I plan to paint is the main issue. Because I don’t have a photograph to look at or a live image in front of me, my mind is almost vibrating with all of the choices and makes me insecure.
To lessen this awkward feeling, I tend to go ahead and start covering the canvas with color so that I can begin to imagine an idea. What happens can always be changed. I start by covering the sky, knowing I eventually want blue of some kind. The sky will probably be daytime and not night so I start with cerulean blue and a bit of ultramarine. It’s probably not going to be a sunset or a sunrise, or at least not too advanced, because I want light on the landscape in the foreground and if it is too late in the afternoon or early in the morning things closer start to silhouette.
These next several shots are just showing the effects of laying out color. It’s like doodling in so far as the hand is working at laying down non committal color while the freed mind can be thinking and moving steps ahead.
The next phase will begin to lay down foreground coverage in the same non committal way.