Well, folks, we are still at it, mixing some paints and staring at canvas. I finished another one the other day and thought you might like to hear some of the process. Firstly, this is from a photo I took a while ago. She and I were going for a walk after a nice little rain. In the photo she had on shoes but I decided to take a little artistic license and let her go barefoot.
Step One: I made an outline on the canvas with pencil and with very little paint and a lot of paint thinner I colored it in like a coloring book. See, you guys thought what we did was all mysterious and magical. DaVinci and all the Masters made outlines and colored in between the lines. Just great big coloring books.
Step Two: I then painted the background. I used Payne's Gray and some white. I love Payne's gray for some reason. I also enjoy cobalt blue.
It was the front parking lot, really, and the water made the concrete dark in the area she was walking in, so that's pretty much the background I made, too. One other thing, I didn't make sure each and every crevice and piece of canvas was painted on, The background is roughed in, with a back and forth motion with the brush. No particular detail needed, the focus is Norah, so nothing in the background to detract from her.
You can see in this preliminary "wash" that I had originally planned on shoes. You can see her sandal strap pencil lines on her feet. I also wasn't too concerned with details yet. Her hands and feet are roughed in, this will be dealt with later. This process is mostly to see the balance and whether it is in the picture right.
Step Three: After the wash and you have the background, it is time to start laying on some paint and begin to detail. The jeans are a mix of ultramarine and white, the shirt is a mix of red and blue, and the skin is a combination of cad red, burnt sienna and some ultramarine blue for shadowing. Once I had that taken care of I moved up to her hair. Norah has hair that changes color depending on her mood and the lighting. I swear when she is pissed off it is fiery red, and when the sun is shining on it, it is blondish. I have to confess that I struggled mightily with her hair. I couldn't ever match it right. I even put my color chart on her head when she was sleeping yesterday and even then couldn't get it. It doesn't make the painting ruined, it just means I wasn't able to do it as well as I wanted. In the end I settled for a combination of burnt sienna, cadmium yellow medium and some white.
I added more definition to the hands and made some ripples in the water. I overworked it in some areas and that is always a sure sign to just stop. In other words, I kept adding and messing after it was finished, and when I would step back and became more dissatisfied.
Step Four: Once you are fairly satisfied and either tired of messing or think it truly captured what your had in mind, then grab a small brush and sign it. In this case, I signed "Grampa" and this ain't for sale.
I have now done three in the space of just a few short weeks and will continue to paint the next one. I have one in mind on a smaller canvas and a no idea for another one of my big ones. Come on, brain, come up with something fun. Until then, thanks for putting up with me.