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Digital Subscriptions > The Artist > February 19 > The selective start

The selective start

Richard Schmid reveals the secrets of his selective method of painting and demonstrates a still life in oils
Pansies, oil on canvas, 12 × 24in (30.5 × 61cm).

The selective start is a method of painting evolved as my painting skills developed. It is about going from the parts to the whole. I call it selective because typically I select a small part of my subject, finish it, select the adjoining part, finish that, and so on. I know it sounds a little nuts, but with the right subject and circumstances, it works. It made sense that if I could see colours and shapes well enough to correct them, I could also get it right first time and thus eliminate the almost-right stage! All I had to do was be very exacting about how I looked at my subject and then equally fastidious and patient about what went onto my canvas. And I must have a very clear image in my mind, a sort of conceptual block-in, to guide my steps.

So whenever it is possible (and many times it is not) I try to paint each little shape on my subject as carefully as I can from the start. I do it in as finished a way as possible and I use each correct colour shape to guide me in painting all adjoining shapes. I build my picture in this way, from a single accurate point, painting outward from the centre until I have the painting I want before me. Afterwards, it is a matter of pulling the whole thing together, softening edges here and there, scrutinizing for drawing errors, eliminating unnecessary value changes and checking the overall design for simplicity – then I’m done.

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About The Artist

Enjoy developing your skills and techniques with The Artist. Written by artists and top tutors, for experienced amateur painters and aspiring professional artists, this month's issue offers stage-by-stage demonstrations, illustrated tips and techniques for drawing and painting in watercolour, pastels, acrylic, mixed media, oils and gouache. Learn new techniques for painting winter landscapes, characterful portraits, still lifes, spring flowers and animals. There's also an article encouraging you to step out of your comfort zone to paint unfamiliar subjects and an interview with Professor Christopher Orr MBE, RA revealing his approach to his unusual subject matter and working methods. Plus our marketing expert advises on how to use apps to facilitate your social media posts to help get your work noticed. And when you've completed your best work, why not enter it into our 2019 Open competition for the chance to see your work exhibited, published and win one of over 40 fantastic prizes! Full details are on pages 12 to 13 . Enjoy!