One, Two, Three


Occasionally, someone will ask about my painting process. I have in the past, posted my usual digital painting and oil painting process.  But once in a while, I’ll choose this method.  It’s not an overall block-in, refine and refine again way to work.  It is instead, a little by little fill in method. While this technique can be fun, I don’t recommend it to anyone who is just starting to paint. Nor is it a way to work with a live model as your subject.  But, if working from one of your photos, it’s a nice change of pace.

Most painters who use this technique virtually finish an area before they move on.  I continue to go back and rework, just not as much as I do with an overall blocked- in underpainted method.  Many artists who employ this technique use far less color and create much tighter paintings. My finish (below) is about as tight as I like to get, regardless of the method.  But next time I work this technique, I’m going to limit the color significantly.  The color here is a little too exuberant.  Color, edges, highlights- all fighting for attention.  So next time, less of everything:)   I’ll let you know how it goes.

bbet copy

Comments on: "One, Two, Three" (91)

  1. She really comes to life, pops off the screen. Beautiful. Something about the nose especially, I feel as if I could reach out and give it a wiggle 🙂

  2. Love it! Thanks for posting! Even your own critiques provide insights.

  3. amazing! the way it takes shape is so beautiful to see 🙂

  4. What a fascinating process seeing you bring this portrait to life, fabulous!

  5. It is great to see your steps,the result is excellent,hues are flowing so very beautifully creating a romantic mood with her musing gaze,textures in her t-shirt unite with your charming composition…seems so effortlessly done,showing your expertness! 🙂

  6. I learn so much from just looking at your gorgeous work, my sweet. But I do thoroughly enjoy your tutelage in the process-specific posts especially. 😀 ❤

  7. Wonderful to see the progression of your work – great stuff!

  8. Beautiful work! Also this is a nice way to change things up a bit with equally impressive results.

  9. Your work is so gorgeous. I was happy to see some of your painting steps. Thank you for sharing that.

  10. It’s always fun to watch the creative process – and the result is magnificent despite your own bit of resentment about the exuberant colours. 🙂

  11. this is very interesting, a pleasure to know about your processes and a little bit scaring…so much to learn…:-)


  12. Wow, just amazing. The way the light works in your style is magical!

  13. i really love it when you show the steps liek that 😀

  14. Thanks for sharing a bit about your process:) I can’t get over how real her skin looks in the finished piece. Beautifully done, as always.

  15. fascinating to read about your process. It looks amazing to me!

  16. Really interesting to read about your techniques, Elena – do you like the restrictions imposed in this case?

    • Yes. I like self imposed restrictions because they force me to learn. Funny, but the most restricted self-imposed techniques seem to allow for more freedom down the road. I guess absorbing specific lessons that they teach, find their way into freer forms. Thank you, Richard!

  17. It ‘s very interesting to see the face gradually appear! Magic! I love very much the colours.

  18. I like the firmness of the colors and the ethereal quality of the energy of the subject quiet even when draped with life trappings.

  19. If only it were as easy as one two three! Love it, Elena! 🙂

  20. So good to see the progress of this fabulous painting Elena, to see the under colours you use, and watch it grow. Something I have never understood is the artists who start in one place and complete a work as they go – if I did that one side would be quite different from the other! I do like the glow of the final image.

  21. I love that ease of photography makes this kind of exposition possible. Your process is fascinating.

  22. Very interesting. Thanks for sharing, Elena! You are so talented any of your methods results in a glorious painting. Like this one!

  23. Absolutely gorgeous, Elena. Thank you for sharing some of your process. I am in awe.

  24. So so talented! Just beautiful!

  25. A fascinating journey, greatly enjoyed. Thanks Elena.

  26. Wow, what a beautiful painting, Elena! Thank you for sharing your process!

  27. It is so interesting to see behind the scenes, Elena, thanks for sharing. The finished portrait is beautiful.

  28. I think this is incredibly beautiful, Elena! I don’t see ‘too many colours’ at all ( and I do love understated colour). Maybe in real life it looks a bit different… There is a wonderful warmth reflecting on to her, and of course, the fresh elegance of youth.

    • Yes indeed, the painting is less colorful in person. Photographing paintings is not my forte. Thank you for your insight and appreciation, Karen:)

  29. So interesting to see a part of the magic in progress, really fascinating
    – a very important ingredient should also be mentioned here – your amazing talent… 🙂

  30. how interesting to see the secret of magic, Elena !

  31. poppytump said:

    How beautifully it all comes together Elena . Thank you for a little insight to your work process !

  32. Thank you for sharing your process Elena. I stand in awe of everything that you do. I just have to point my camera and a do a bit of processing. This is just amazing!

  33. piękny efekt końcowy

  34. What a gift it is to understand and actually see how you go about your work. And then, in the final piece, to understand exactly what you mean by all the various parts fighting for attention. I see that. Just as I see whole sentences or mere words that must be cut for the sake of a paragraph that does it proper work for the whole. Thank you for this!

  35. Elena, do you mean the color edges and highlights of her hair? If I may, even though I know NOTHING about oil painting, the only thing I would tone down is her hair, because it is a bit too yellow looking. But thanks so much for sharing your process. That is interesting! 🙂

    • In person, this painting is not so brightly colored. I’m awful at photographing oil paintings. But I think the color is still a little too much when coupled with the too many sharp edges (such as her blouse). Too many elements fighting for attention. Glad you found it interesting, Patsy:)

      • Elena, I hear you about photographing your work. I don’t think my camera does that great of a job either. I take pictures on different settings, then have to adjust them on the computer to where I think they are the most like the actual painting. It is a bit frustrating! 🙂 And I find all of your work interesting and inspiring, Elena.

      • So true, Patsy. Even running the image through PS and adjusting isn’t always quite right. Yes, quite frustrating:) Thanks so much, Patsy. I’m enjoying your work as well.

  36. Thank you for sharing your process, Elena. It’s always interesting to see how other artists work. I don’t really paint so can’t compare methods except that when working in charcoal or ink I also work on building the light and dark tones at the same time to build up contrast and work on one area of the piece at a time. The finished piece is gorgeous. I especially like your handling of light and shade on the planes of the face.

  37. Thank you for showing us your process. Amazing!!

  38. Great to see your process and the final work Elena! : )

  39. maria513340 said:

    it is a very beautiful painting. I just love the light. Many thanks also for sharing your method.

  40. Thx for the wip!

  41. So beautiful dear Elena, you did great painting, fascinated me. Thank you, love, nia

  42. Marvellous, Elena

  43. Fantastic to see the work in progress Elena – thanks for sharing.

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