In this blog I want to show you how I developed my latest painting, which happens to be a collective portrait of my sisters children.
1. The first step was to mark out the basic shape of the faces and to set the composition. I decided to have the two eldest on the outside framing the youngest placed in the middle. This part of the picture is never very accurate and is just a rough guide, as it will all be covered in paint anyway. To be honest a very few of my paintings are started in this way. Normally I cover all the white areas in colour first, then directly mark out the shapes with paint and brush on top. But for this painting I tried something different and felt that this was the right way to go about this portrait.
2. Secondly I start to add very basic colour and tones to face, hair and clothes. This isn’t neat or controlled. The paint is added with a large loose brush, with quick strokes. If a mistake is made in this stage it doesnt matter as the painting will be refined in a later stage.
3. Once basic colour has been added, now some level of detail can be applied to move the painting on to the next stage. To do this part I moved down to a medium paint brush. Again it doesnt matter if any mistakes are made as mistakes can always be painted over. Half way through the painting I realised that some of the proportions where out and that the faces didn’t look quite right. So I positioned the eyes slightly lower and changed the shape of them. After that repositioning the painting looked better and I was happier with it.
4. Next I add back ground colours, again going back to my large brush. The effect I was going for, I achieved with a drybrush and very little paint with no water mixed in. I like this affect as the brush goes over the canvas it picks up the texture underneath. I also like to dry brush a darker colour in from the corners to frame the faces.
After a bit more working on the details, colour and shape of the faces…..
5. The last thing I do is add a light highlight to the eyes to make the subjects come alive. Then add high and low lights on to the picture with pastels. Pastel on a painting adds texture. It is really good for hair and fur on animals.
And here is the finished painting.