Color Sketch

Having Fun Painting a Commission: Step 3 Color Sketch

Painting a commission can be fun without all that pressure.  I’ve learned if I take it a step at a time, it leads to a more enjoyable experience for both me and the client, plus a better painting.  Hopefully it can help you too.  And please add a comment if you have some tips for me and other readers!  If you haven’t read the first two steps, I encourage you to do this first(they’re short posts).

Step 1: Review the Photo
Step 2: Value and Composition
Step 3: The Color Sketch

I left off with a solid value study, deciding to follow the wisdom of Beirstadt in getting the viewer to move into the background view (thanks Albert — yes, we’re on a first name basis now, ha) with a dark foreground, light background. Now, it’s time to nail down the right colors at the right values.  The sketch is still a small scale, rough draft worried mostly about color notes, not perfection.

Color Sketch
6×8″ (tiny) color sketch. Only worried about colors and values, not perfection.

Before getting into the painting, I’ll give the option of a bench just to see how it’d fit.  I’m not so sure it’d add much.  This is a perfect time to paint it in, take a pic and ask them!

Hmm. Let's if a bench would be good in there... now's the time to check. Not so sure.
Hmm. Let’s if a bench would be good in there… now’s the time to check. Not so sure.

Color temperature is a big deal with a color sketch. Cool muted colors (blue and green light grays) make up the distance hills, while the foreground has more saturated warm colors (ochre, deep browns, yellow greens).

I’ll wait to see if the client has any changes she’d like to make, but I feel pretty confident about scaling up to 18×24″ now.


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