Monday, July 4, 2011

Preparation and the Drawing

The first thing I do is to create a "toned ground."  This is a base color painted over the entire canvas.  This layer isn't seen directly in the finished painting at all, but it adds a depth of color that you can't get by painting on a white surface.  In this case, I'm using white gesso mixed with raw sienna and yellow oxide acrylic.
When I want precision (which I do with most of my paintings), I use the grid technique for creating the drawing.  As I was working on this one, I was already wondering if maybe I've lost my mind.  Tire tread?  Pedals?  These are not simple things.  Why am I painting them?  I am anticipating a struggle in that area, but for now I'll just move on.

Once I'm satisfied with the drawing, I place it over the canvas with a layer of white transfer paper in between.  I then trace over every line in the drawing to transfer it onto the canvas.  It's hard to see in the photo, but it looks something like this:
And now I put things away for a couple of days.  Not because I don't want to work on it more, but because that pesky day job gets in the way.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The idea

I want to expand on my portrait style and start adding more elements of the person into my paintings rather than just a head and shoulders.  I made my poor fourteen-year-old son suffer through a half-hour long photo session to get a photo that I think captures his personality in a unique way.  He was actually quite a trooper (and a bit of a ham) about it.  I'll be using this photo as a guide for a portrait in oil.  Follow along as I share each step of the process with you.