Well I am gonna tell you a little bit about the beginning of my process. If you have a second, you can actually find a few youtube videos with photos and text taking you through my whole process, but since I haven’t updated as much as usual I am gonna just tell you as a “special treat” for those who are bored enough to read it.
So as you can see in my first picture, I layout my drawing first. Why? Because every now and then I start drawing and make the head so big I cut off all the features and so I now lay it out every single time to save myself the grief. Really, I did it so many times that I had to start laying out my paintings. I don’t learn from my mistakes fast, I keep thinking “Oh no, I can tell what it will look like.” No I can’t. So I put some paint on the canvas.
I will say, usually I first put a wash down across the whole canvas to get it a nice non-white sheen, but for this particular series, I need the background as light as possible, so I only washed in the areas that will be filled in. I may have to do some edging around the outside with oil and stuff to make up for this.
In the first photo you can also see my relatively limited palette (although there is some cad yellow off the left middle you can’t see.) I used titanium white, ivory black, ultramarine blue, burnt sienna, cad red, sometimes I throw some english red and yellow ochre on there but I rarely touch them, and cad yellow. That’s it. I used to use more colours, but they got muddy a lot more than they do now. Simple is good for me, until I decide to go through some colour phase and start just splashing vridian and cads all over…. I will probably sell more of those than I do of these.
When I paint, most of the time I literally start putting chunks of whatever needs to go wherever it needs to go. Most of the time I do not put down a huge middle tone (although this particular instance might be cutting it close) and I usually work pretty thin, I like scraping paint (my brushes hate it.)
I want to get my MAIN lights and darks in ASAP! Why? Because relative to those light and shadow is everything. I don’t have to go full black if I don’t want, but I have to put down whatever I am going to do or I will start being inconsistent. Relativity to what you have down is more important (I believe right now, give me some months to change my mind) than relative to trying to go full spectrum as you may see on subject. Simplify it in to your lights and darks and middles, don’t try to get every little nuance or it will be tedious and you will likely overwork it (or one area will look wayyy off from another because your eye darkened or lightened a patch as you focused on it, so instead relate it to the overall picture always.)
I realize as I am writing this that my thoughts and words tend to go everywhere, maybe I will write a comprehensive and direct approach to painting without all the randomness at some point. In my head I can follow it, and it’s kind of romantic like a Nicholas Sparks novel. Oh paint, I love you so don’t ever leave me.
As you can see in picture 4 here, I started adding more colour. My skin tones are initially pretty gray, because the light is pretty gray, and if you take out the blush on the cheek or the red near the falls into shadow, you get something pretty gray. So I tend to start really gray, and then I will add the colour in the places that they go (where I see them, and particularly I find that the most colour is right where it turns to shadow, as well as the nose being generally redder, as well as… the lips.)
This is how far I am so far. As you can see, I don’t really care about edges yet. I usually finish the whole face in one sitting, I do all the edges at the end, however in this painting this took me far longer than I expected (from lunch time til dinner time) so I didn’t get a chance to do edges. I will have to go back and oil the whole thing so that when I do put on more paint it will be as if I am working into wet paint – as I work alla prima style always, and this is a big and rare exception for me. In my videos it is more clear that I work wet into wet only, as I had time to get through the whole thing in a day or two at most.
Here are the videos for more examples:
Hope those worked! Anyways have a great weekend!