I thought it would be a good idea to note my progress with this painting. I've been wanting to begin this piece for such a long time that it was kind of surreal to actually start preparing the canvas. I place a grid on the surface to help me place the drawing correctly. I work from photographs and use a digital projector to transfer the drawing onto the canvas. However, there is always some issues with lining up the photographic source with the canvas perfectly. So I use grids like these to help place the imagery in the best possible manner. Then I draw the contours and value information from the photograph onto the canvas.
The next step involves blocking in the colors. I really like beginning with a warm underpainting, with transparent iron oxide or burnt sienna. Then I wipe away the light tones and establish the darks with burnt umber. But for this painting, there is too much information to start that way, I am not able to spend enough time in one sitting to affect the entire painting effectively. So I'm establishing some of the colors to establish the abstract color relationships that will help me balance the over all image. This is where i'm at at this point, which is only a few hours into the painting process, but it feels so good to begin to see color emerge and the image start to make sense.