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Stage 3

Before the underwash dries out I punch in, quickly and expressively with single bold strokes a sense of the composition, tone and colour. I think of this stage as an approximate/draft version of the subject, rather like a photograph that starts to appear as it develops in the developing bath. As well as 'punching in' my approximation to colours I also 'punch out' lighter areas such a patches of sky seen through the tree, or the bright gunwhale of the boat, by lifting out paint with cotton bud, finger and rag or scratching back with fingernail, canvas stretcher wedge or hard end of the brush. Anything goes! Even a handy twig would do.

Stage 4

Satisfied that I now have everything where it should be I start working from the background to the foreground. It is most important using this approach not to render each area to a level of final completion. Like the developing photograph it should develop gradually. Spending just 5 minutes on each area and then moving is what I try to do. It also means that you can change your mind as the painting develops. Also, it's like sculpting; the image gradually becoming refined stage by stage.

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