The Birds Are Coming
The underpainting is so important. The interesting part is that what you're painting isn't quite the vision in your head. It is basically blocking in figure and ground. Often the colors of the underpainting aren't anything like the finished pigments. Even so, this is where I start to create light and shadow, a loosely painted setting, and assess if it all works the way I want.
I started by painting the background - sky, land, striped tents. (I'm especially enamored with the negative shapes formed by the gazebo on the right.) I wasn't quite ready to attack the figures, so went for the birds next. Even the birds aren't done - they need quite a bit more work. As I worked on the gull with the ruffled feathers, it made me realize how much lighter the sky needs to be.
This is such a large painting - 11 feet wide. Quite a long-term project. I have several smaller primed panels on hand. While I work on this one I will start some new paintings that will give me the satisfaction of actually completing something.