Biblical and symbolic paintings require different procedures than impressionist paintings. Impressionist paintings are seen in their entirety in nature, and artists attempt to accurately portray what they see before them. Biblical, symbolic paintings cannot be seen or set up in their entirety in nature. The first task is to jot down the conception. This search for a suitable pictorial expression is usually done on a small scale, without the use of models. Once the idea has been conceptualized the artist must make separate studies from nature to accumulate enough information to proceed to the full scale planning stage of the painting.
It is important to understand that this work needs to be realized in very concrete terms. It is not simply done from imagination. A great deal of specialized and highly skilled effort goes into this realization. The gesture of each figure must be established in relation to its own action and the action or reaction of those around it. Once the gestures have been decided upon, finished studies of the figures are executed. Such figure studies are often done nude to better understand the anatomy and construction of the form. Separate studies are sometimes necessary for heads and hands. Clothing is generally added later, from nature or from additional studies.
If necessary, studies for the environment such as landscape or architecture must be made. Often props need to be gathered or manufactured. Finally, the studies are assembled and combined into a cartoon or full-scale drawing of the entire work. Color studies of the whole or of individual parts can then be made and the artist proceeds with the actual painting. Some of the artist’s preparatory drawings, studies and cartoons are reproduced with the works below.