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Is it weird that I really love the very early stage of a painting? I usually start by sketching the subject on either in pencil or in umber. Once I’m happy with the composition, I’ll paint in the background if it’s going to be a relatively simply one. I like starting with a simple background because it eases you into the painting slowly. It allows you to add color without detail and gives you a better sense of what the colors in the subject will look like against the backdrop. Once it’s on there, the background has to dry for a couple days. Strangely, I find myself coming back into the studio periodically to look at the painting in this stage. There’s something really satisfying about it because there’s nothing to critique or be frustrated with, and I love the contrast of the usually bright colors I choose for simple backgrounds next to the flat brown prepared board. The totally unfinished next to the slightly finished just tickles my sight buds (they’re like taste buds, but in your eyes).

Anyway, here are several that are drying right now after that first layer of background color:

backgrounds first layer