Burning Brush Artworks - Artist Johnny Micheel
Painting Basics

Painting basics is a small narrative on the steps Ive taken in the past to produce original works of art.

Drawing of a mountain scene in front of the canvas in which it will be painted on
Drawing of a mountain scene in front of the canvas in which it will be painted on

Drafting ideas both in the field and in my mind is the first step towards creating new piece of art. Since fire has been my recent theme, I always carry a camera with me on the fire line and a sketchpad is never far from my side. Once an image is captured in the field, its a matter of doing multiple sketches to create a pencil drawing, which can be envisioned in a painting. A pencil drawing serves as a guide for what actually appears on the canvas. I find its important to also paint from your mind and not always try and copy whats in front of you. Knowing and studying your subject makes this process that much easier.


Mountain scene with the first layer of paint being applied
When the paint meets the canvas for the first time, it can be an intimidating venture. A white surface doesnt offer much at first, but after a few layers of paint, you can start to see images and scenes take form. A typical painting can have upwards of 10 layers with more detailed areas taking more time and paint. A nice attribute with oils is they are slow drying, so you can put down a brush for a while and return hours later to continue on area of detail or layer.


Mountain scene with the first layer of paint being applied .

 

Small studio in Helena Montana working on the final details of Night Succession
Small studio in Helena Montana working on the final details of Night Succession.
Typically, several months go by before my paintings reach their final stages. Often times I will spend several hours working on an area only to erase it all. Its a hobby of trial and error where you learn by making mistakes. The hardest part about finishing a painting is determining when to say Im Done! I like to walk away from a painting for about a week and then return to make any final changes. The question how long does a painting take often arises, and it really depends on the size and detail of your work. If I had to guess I would say around 40 to 50 hours on a typical painting.

 
Burning Brush Artworks