I worked on the drawing/cartoon for Down on Prospect Avenue for a week. In the top photo, I just finished tracing the cartoon, which you can see still stapled to the canvas. I removed the transfer paper to examine the drawing. If I miss something, I can cover the canvas with the cartoon and trace it again.
In this case, everything was OK, so I removed the cartoon entirely then sprayed the surface lightly with varnish. I do this because I don’t want to smudge or remove the drawing, nor do I want the carbon mixed into the oil paint. It doesn’t hurt the paint but it does muddy it. The upside down drawing is plainly visible although faint in this photo.
After the varnish dried, I started painting. I’ve varied my usual practice with this canvas. I added burnt sienna to the normal gray-tone ground made with ivory black, raw umber, and white.
Down on Prospect Avenue has 13 figures and is 44″ x 60.”