The first layer is size

The first layer is size. It seals the medium ready for the magic.
Then comes a sketched outline. Shapes, tentative at first;
A false start or two or more. An expression that doesn’t
Quite emerge right from scurrying lines is smudged back and
Pulled again from the canvas by spidery lines and swirls.
This is the second layer, everything is built on this.
How you sketch this layer is vital. Skimp on the effort
And it doesn’t matter how hard you work on the
Later layers, they’ll always be lacking. Something
Will bother you when you see those sort of pictures
Hanging around in shops and factory staff rooms. A gut
Instinct that the basic sketch was not done right.
But a picture on which loving time has been spent,
Where the painter took the canvas and drew and
Redrew coaxing the strokes to represent what they
Were meant to be, well that’s plainly beautiful to see.
Artists; go home to your canvases and rescue them
From doleful neglect in tobacco-stained houses
Where they will languish splashed by a momentary
Escape of alcohol and the stickiness of cocktails
On a happy hour Friday or lie in sodden resignation under
Cardboard in a Detroit gutter surrounded by
The broken window glass of disappearing
Factory routine twelve hour grind and time
And a quarter Saturdays. A good outline, as
A framework, helps make your creations
Hang on the right walls and be seen in the
Company of work by successful artists.
Bad things still mishap a well-executed sketch
But a good strong starting layer is the rock
From which the potential can rise.
Artists; go home to your canvases and
Pour your love, experience and skill in to
The lines of the first sketchy layer.

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