I've been pretty productive so far, and I'm excited about continuing these new paintings. Here's the run down on what I've accomplished so far.
Tuesday: I stretched two canvases on stretchers (the wooden supports for the canvas) that I am reusing.
Wednesday: I composed and photographed two of my compositions at home with a self-timer. I developed ideas for the next two. (I'm going to be working on four paintings right now.)
Thursday: At sunrise, John helped me compose and photograph the next two compositions. I took all these images to school and completed the arrangements in photoshop, then printed out several copies increasing the darks and lights to use as value guides. In my sculpture class, while my students carved styrofoam, I built three more stretchers. At home, I completed the first prepatory drawing for the first composition.
Friday: In the morning I returned to the studio to pick up the finished stretchers and built two more. (I had already prepared the wood at home over the Christmas break, so really I just assembled them.) I also got out the hide glue, which has to soak overnight, that I am using as the sizing.
Saturday: A busy day. I stretched two more canvases. Then I finished heating the hide glue and sized all four canvases in the living room floor. They need to dry for eight hours. While I waited i began and completed the prepatory watercolor for the first composition. (I think this is valuable because it helps me select what colors I will be using, and get accustomed to painting slowly and thinly. Planning is very important when using layers, something I don't normally do.) I also prepared the ground, so in the evening, when the hide glue was dry, I primed my canvases with flake white and linseed oil. These now need to dry for 3 days, or whenever it's dry to the touch.
Sunday: I completed a prepatory drawing for a second composition, and "stretched" (wet and taped down) watercolor paper for it.
I intend to finish all four prep drawings by tuesday, so that when the ground is dried I can transfer all the drawings, and do the first layer (the Imprimatura). I'm going to take my time with the watercolors though, since I'll have seven weeks between the imprimatura and the next layer. I am wondering now if I'll be able to wait seven weeks. I think that will be the hardest part for me - I'm so used to slapping wet paint together, letting the layers dry feels very foreign.
I'm debating whether or not to put images of the watercolors up - I'd hate to get a lot of criticism and then have to paint the image for the next year.