Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Painting Demo (Post #7)

 A few times throughout the fellowship with Neal, he so kindly did a painting demo for me. Allowing me the first-hand experience of witnessing his process of painting from choosing his reference photo to the end product of framing the painting. I have admired Neal’s work from the moment I found out he would be my mentor and was so honored to have had time to see him paint and also document his process for possible future reference.

As a painter myself, I always find people’s process of painting almost more interesting than the painting itself. Most people don’t realize, but artists don’t usually just start painting right away, rather there are several stages the artist takes (that differentiate with each artist) and through this process comes out a “finished” piece (I put finished in quotations, because is a painting ever really finished?) I have always felt that the process and the early stages of the painting really say a lot about the artist and can help the artist understand more about the painting and themselves.

I have up until this point normally work with watercolor paint (though I plan on starting oils very soon) and seeing Neal paint with oils was a very interesting and enlightening learning experience.

Neal is a plein air painter, so normally he would paint outside in open air, which he does at his many competitions. However for the demo, he painted from a reference photo in his studio. Neal also usually starts his painting with a quick preliminary sketch playing with different layouts and possibilities for the final painting (Neal was in the illustration program at UArts originally.) As he makes his way to the panel (which was oh so beautifully made by myself J ) he makes an under painting, this is where the artist paints a thin, light layer of paint so they’re not painting upon the plain panel or canvas. Form the under painting, he basically draws what he sees in the picture. This is the very early stage where you can make mistakes and still easily change them. Neal would wipe out whatever drawing he did when he didn’t think it was matching the reference picture. As he continued, he started to add larger blocks of color, starting from the background of the painting to the foreground. It was interesting to watch him paint, and he would just continue to add more color and refine the painting more.

I am a very visual person, and so watching Neal paint was very helpful for myself to see what he did and how the painting turned out through each stage. I was also blown away by how fast he finished the entire painting. From start to finish, this painting probably took him about 2 hours. Attached below are photos from each stage of his painting.


  1. Very cool to see someone else's process from start to finish!! It is crazy how quickly he finished it

    1. I totally agree! It was a great experience, and right!!