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Step 1 of 10          

This is a pretty big sized painting.....52" x 72"

When I stood in front of that big, empty canvas for the first time, I nearly choked.....” how in the world am I going to pull this off?.....There is just no way I can ever create the overwhelming feeling of space and solitude that you feel when you are actually standing on the edge of the North Rim. And then on a two-dimensional surface!. I tell myself “it’s just a hole in the ground....keep the background vague and in saturated purple values, the foreground razor sharp....and I’ve got it licked.....”

I start by giving the canvas a wash, or tone, of a warm ‘reddish’ color, heavily diluted with turpentine. (I use a big brush or cotton rag for this.) You can clearly still see the background color in this step. If I need to start painting right away, I use a hair blower to speed up the drying process. The reason for giving the canvas a “tone” first, is that the lighter colors will not show up on a white canvas. This first step shows, (what looks like a lot of scribbling)....that I am placing the structures of the rock formations and determining the horizon line. This is a very intense moment, and in most cases this will determine the “make or the brake” of the painting. I don’t like to correct a composition once I have started. Either it works from the start or it will forever work against you.....

 

 © 2008 André Balyon. All rights reserved