Ways to Start a Painting

You may have watched the video on the welcome page showing the process of painting in Schmid's "Selective Start" method. Selective Start is one of my favorite ways to begin a work, but only when I'm feeling especially confident about drawing and identifying values. It is certainly not the only way to start a work. Here are a couple others:


I usually start with a full value underpainting when I consider the drawing to be complicated and want to reassure myself that the finished work will be drawn accurately. I use a mix of transparent oxide red and ultra marine blue and work very thin. I can easily wipe away mistakes and try new elements in the composition. The trouble for me lies in stopping soon enough. There is far more information on the canvas than I needed, but I am usually having so much fun it is hard to stop! When I'm sure of my drawing, I paint right over the underpainting using it as my guide.

I usually start with a full value underpainting when I consider the drawing to be complicated and want to reassure myself that the finished work will be drawn accurately. I use a mix of transparent oxide red and ultra marine blue and work very thin. I can easily wipe away mistakes and try new elements in the composition. The trouble for me lies in stopping soon enough. There is far more information on the canvas than I needed, but I am usually having so much fun it is hard to stop! When I'm sure of my drawing, I paint right over the underpainting using it as my guide.


I did a line and color block in for this piece. I forced myself to keep the block in loose and suggestive. I just wanted to know placement and some rough values. Then I came back in and really laid in the detail.

I did a line and color block in for this piece. I forced myself to keep the block in loose and suggestive. I just wanted to know placement and some rough values. Then I came back in and really laid in the detail.