Haseltine continued

After the first session, I studied printouts of photos of my work in progress and considered how to keep Haseltine's rhythm and structure while changing the proportions of the work. This wasn't a challenge that I decided on ahead of time, it just turned out that an 18 x 24 was the only canvas I could get on a moment's notice...but now I'm really happy about it because it added another dimension to the exercise.

Visitors are universally kind and complimentary; even obviously-experienced painters are very generous with praise. Not all Copyists want this much interaction with the public, but as a former Artist in Residence, I welcome it. The Copyist program considers it part of the reason I'm there, and I embrace that.

By this point, I thought I better start washing in some local color...and that pretty much quadrupled the interest in the work!

I was mainly still struggling with the drawing and composition, but adding a little color did help me get more of a sense of how his composition worked to move the eye around, and I made quite a few more changes after this.

The following week, third session, I made more changes to the drawing and added more local color, still avoiding detail. There were lots of opportunities to explain how we construct a work, not by fully developing one section at a time, but by working the whole surface and keeping the development unified, slowly adding layers of color and trying not to kill the underpainting in the process.

 The single most often-asked question is, "how long did this take you?" People were surprised when I said, "About 12 hours so far." It reminded me of something that a visiting artist said during my BFA studies. She said (about demand for one's work), "People want something that looks like it took a long time to make." 

This is about halfway finished at this point, and I'm actually trying to slow it down more. As a plein-air painter, I've gotten into the habit of rushing to beat the changing light, and that is proving to be extremely difficult to overcome. Even as I'm explaining to a visitor that Haseltine painted this in the studio, not on site, and probably over a course of several months, I'm thinking "I gotta hurry up and finish this." Perhaps the most valuable part of the exercise was being forced to slow down, look carefully, and be very patient. It helped that I was forced to take a week between each session; I had very fresh eyes for the next session.