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.
Oil on Linen 24″x 24″
One of those paintings that I keep fussing with. I’ll probably give it a week of rest and then fine tune it a little bit more.
Oil on Linen 8″x 15″
An exercise I could have taken farther, but decided to leave as is.
Oil on Linen 24″ x 24″
Lots of reflected light, on a sumptuous linen surface=so much fun to paint! Below you’ll find progress images.
When not working alla prima, I generally begin with a value based underpainting- blocking in the entire painting to create a first layer. As you can see, with this one, I started with charcoal and worked the painting bit by bit.
Acrylic and oil on canvas 18″x24″
For this piece, I followed the same procedure as “Active Resolve” . I’m finding it a satisfying process, at least for the moment;)
A welcome surprise, “Betsy” won Honorable Mention in The Human Figure competition at Exhibeo Art Competition Magazine. In addition, Jonathan Raddatz, from Exhibeo has written a lovely review of my “Young Series”, in which “Betsey” is a part. You can find the review here.
Thank you, Jonathan and thank you, Exhibeo!
Oil on 17.5″ wood panel
While shopping at Home Depot, I spotted a wooden disk that I had to have. While it’s ridiculously heavy and I have no idea what it was created for, it served as a terrific surface for this painting. I think I’ll pick up another panel next time I’m at the Depot.
This one is more tightly wound than I would like. I was so enchanted with the light on the hair and face, that I got carried away. I should have gone alla prima with this. Instead I blocked it in (thinly under painted hues and values), and kept refining to achieve more detail, in order to work all those little hairs. If I were to paint this again, I’d let go of the detail, keeping the painting looser, in order to capture the feeling of joy and abandon. Instead, the expression took a back seat to all of those tiny little hair highlights.
I’ve been oil painting almost exclusively lately, weighing different techniques against one another. I tend to paint tight more detailed work only when it feels right to me, depending on what I’m trying to achieve. But, I must say that working alla prima-direct to surface, wet into wet in one session, like the painting above, is loads of fun.
I’m still working on this series but with a little less vigor, since I’m distracted by and doing battle with the “Blood and Vapor” series. So many paintings to make, never enough time.
Two variations of K.
There are so many ways to portray a subject. Even when the portrait is figurative, a straight forward depiction of likeness; a literal likeness of an individual, it’s a challenge to decide which aspect of your model you want to highlight or capture. That said, I’ve been playing with “sets”. These are two figurative, straight up portraits of an individual, exploring two very different ways of seeing her.
-Please forgive the less than ideal photos of these oil paintings. The human eye blends the color and values, my lack of expertise with a camera seems to separate them-
Oil portrait of radiant, R about to begin her second week at college. Pretty large at 24″x37″ This painting comes with my oil painting photo disclaimer:Looks so much better in person:)
Oil on canvas preliminary for the Divide Series
With a glaze of white, parting the planes.
Thanks for all your thoughtful and kind comments on experiment #1.
Onto experiment #2.: Experiments #1 and #2 have photo challenges in common, even though this surface is not shiny. These colors are somewhat brighter than the original and playing in PS didn’t get them right. No glazing here, the paint was applied fresh but thick with medium.
I say, “meh”. So far I’m confirming that the way I usually work, seems to work better for me. I’m going to have to paint this model in my old tried and true fashion, because I just haven’t begun to do her justice.
Tomorrow, oil experiment #3
I’m without a commission at the moment, so I’ve been pushing into “what if” territory in oil paint. I’ve played with three paintings, all handled differently. The subject is the same, though posture and expression vary greatly. Above is the first. I applied many more layers of glaze than I normally use, to see if my usual technique could improve with the added work, or if the result would just become too noodley. The later is the final verdict. The dozen layers or more of paint simply created thicker clumsy strokes. The painting does however, look better in reality. Photographing the painting sans the shine was a bear. The translucent quality resulting from multiple glazes isn’t apparent in the photo, and the transitions between values aren’t showing up well, resulting in annoying linear areas.
Note to self:Don’t overdo the glazing:)
Tomorrow, oil experiment #2