Painting “Chopping Lessons”

As soon as I heard about The Future Generations Art Prize, I began planning the paintings I would submit. The show will be held in my birth country, Ukraine, and the grand prize is 100K! An opportunity I couldn’t miss out on. I’ve been wanting to do a large Ukrainian themed painting for a while, and this seemed like a great time to finally do it.

Concept Sketches

I went through a few ideas and decided on a father teaching his son how to chop wood. My first concept felt too centered and boring, because both figures were facing the camera and the entire scene was symetrical. So, I did a few more small thumbnails, just focusing on the 2-value breakdown. Just concerned about the composition at the point. The details of the story would be worked out during the photoshoot. I chose #4 for the final painting.


I hired my models and bought some old clothing from the local thrift store. I had the two models do separate photo shoots, so I could focus on each individually. I had them take many different poses from various angles to have options. In the end I went with the same poses as in my concept sketch.

Then I needed to find some reference for all the objects in the environment. I was lucky to find a really nice lumber yard not too far from my house with a pile of wood and a cabin. Even though the cabin was not of a Ukrainian style (vertical wood rather than horizontal logs), I used it for perspective and to borrow some colors. I took pictures of my grandfathers old bike as a secondary story for the boy.

Final Sketch

I put all the elements together in this final drawing study.



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