It’s all in the process.

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In painting, like most things, the more we plan ahead the better the outcome. Most of the time. But one never really knows.

I’m not here to tell you how to paint. I’m just making this stuff up as I go. And countless hours of dragging a wet paint filled brush across a piece of paper has given me some experience in the process. So here it is, and surprise, it’s not that big a mystery. But it does seem to work for me, most of the time.

When I’m in the field I’ll use a light pencil or pen line to get my drawing started. In this case, in the studio, I didn’t because before I started painting, I did an ink, shadow sketch to find my composition. This way I could see the final painting in my minds eye. Always good to know where you’re going, it helps get you there.

Starting with the lightest colors and finding your shadows lets you start building up your darks. Working as a “purist” watercolorist I try to not use white paint, the paper is the white so you work light to dark. The fun is the planning it out. Even more fun when it works.

Happy little accidents.

In my perfect world and the painting is taking shape I look to “create” happy accidents. Letting colors bleed into each other, splatter or drag along as dry brush making interesting shapes. And as the darks build up the painting develops more depth.

Knowing when to stop.

I think many painters will tell you that knowing when to stop, when to walk away is a key element in the final outcome of the work. Overworking the paints, or line can take away the spontaneity you’ve been working so hard to create. In the case of this little drawing I could have stopped here. In fact I did. I thought I was finished but I do so much work with the pen and ink I weakened and added some ink line work.

It didn’t need it but its a crutch for me and the painting still works. Maybe this sounds like over thinking, but it’s what I do and how I work so I have to just go with it.

Thanks for following, enjoy the ride and stay safe.

This 12×16 painting is available here.

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Michael Valenti is "The Veloist" - He is an avid cyclist and artist known for his Cycling Art work. Each year Michael chases the Pro Peloton at the Tour de France and other major cycling events. He is available for event and corporate cycling related projects as well as personal commissions for art.

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