Saturday, June 19, 2010

Demo of Michelle

Hello Friends:

Many of you have told me that you enjoy hearing about my thoughts behind my paintings. Today, I thought that I would show you the evolution of a portrait, step by step. I painted this portrait of Michelle yesterday during an incredible thunderstorm which made the lights flicker and the windows rattle. Undeterred, I stuck to my normal process and came out with a very nice painting, I think.

First, I start out with a very watery mixture of paint and let the different colors mix on the canvas. While it is still very wet, I take a brush and map out the general dimensions of her head, face, and neck. It looks like a Picasso at this point, and I'm liking the composition already.

Second, I take out my palette knife and start to lay in thick paint where I see the darkest colors happening. I find it best to work from dark to light. I try to be very loose and free with the paint at this point, because I want the painterly feel to be there at the end.

Third, I use the palette knife to lay in my lighter colors, now covering the entire canvas. I use the knife to adjust the background color as well, now that I can visualize how the finished portrait may look.

The fourth stage is where I slow down to a crawl. I take out a regular paint brush and carefully put in her features and adjust the big blocks of color to be more realistic. At the very end, I pull out the palette knife once again and put some thick highlights on to add a bit of excitement.

The entire process took about 3-4 hours. I felt a bit like Dr. Frankenstein in his lab, with the flashing lightening and howling wind outside my studio window. But I like my creation better than his!

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