This is a painting that I've started a while back and have since put on the back burner. Do you recognize the building?
In terms of process, this is obviously in the very early stages, perhaps just a few hours into the painting. Using a grid, I drew the positions of key elements on the canvas with a pencil, along with a few perspective lines. Nothing too tight or precise, as you can see. (my horizontal lines are way crooked!)
I should note that I'm not spending any time on the composition, because I'm working from a study that I did a few years ago. the design, and the colors are already worked out.
I usually don't have a pencil underdrawing for small paintings, but I can't draw accurately when the scope of the canvas exceeds my distortion-free cone of vision, so I use a grid for larger paintings. This canvas is 24 x 30 so it's by no means a huge painting, but it's big enough that free-handing the design is not practical for me, especially because architecture requires a lot more accuracy than, say, a eucalyptus tree. I'd still do it free-hand if it were a landscape painting.
Anyway, after drawing on the canvas with a pencil, I go in with turpy washes to draw and to block in the shadow/dark areas. At this stage, I really try to explore how I might abstract certain areas by losing shapes and edges. It's easy to push the abstraction at this stage because there's really very little invested in the process and there's no risk. If I don't like something, It takes no time at all to bring it back to the representational realm. In fact this back and forth between the representational and the abstract starts to reveal a direction which guides the later painting process. Often, an unexpected deviation from the literal will emerge. I may or may not hang onto it, but the discovery keeps things fresh and keeps me engaged.
After I've played with the washes for a while, I start painting the lit areas with opaque colors, and that's what you see on this shot. The very first "layer" (in quotes because I don't really think of my process as painting in layers) of opaque colors is applied thinly, and although I don't necessarily "stay within the lines" (in quotes because I've already obliterated the outlines in the wash stage), I try to hang on to some key elements which will help me with the addition of smaller elements later on.
I'll post photos of subsequent stages when I get there.