It's so interesting when you see how another artist works so I recently took a series of photos to show my process and how I go about starting a painting.These photos are of the painting I did for the Alice in Wonderland show on at Espionage Gallery until the 1st of April. I would say I spent a good two to three weeks on and off on this painting with many sketches beforehand.
I usually start by putting a few extra layers of gesso on just to make the surface smoother. I like to first sketch it up in watered down (turpentine) burnt umber or raw umber to try and figure out things like the position or size. Often I have a damp rag handy with me to rub away mistakes. I find the whole process is a series of correcting my mistakes!
The first 4 images are the same sitting and you can see all the adjustments and sketchy lines. I really dislike my initial painting sketches - somehow they always look a little monstrous! Once I am semi happy with the initial sketch and have put in a few shadows I like to leave it and let it dry.
The next thing I do is put colour in and tidy it up a bit as I go. I begin very sketchy and loose and slowly tighten it up as the painting develops. The 6th image is a weird camera angle, slightly looking down but at this point the painting is somewhat coming together and has a couple of layers on it now. I don't really ever use a lot of red but I love using it in little bits such as on the lips, to draw the viewer in and sometimes to guide them around a painting.
At this stage I start putting in details such as the diamante on the mask. This was an agonizing task. I spent a good three hours one day just painting dots continuously and that was only for the ears! From here I just keep going over with layers building up colour, shadow and highlights until I'm satisfied.
I'm still not sure how I feel about this painting. Sometimes I like it and other times I hate it but I guess that's what makes it exciting and why I'm so addicted to it.
Every time I start a painting its always a little bit different. Sometimes i have coloured grounds or if I am working with watercolour its a completely different story! I'm not an expert on painting by any means but I think its about finding your own way and trying out different things with each painting you do.
So that gives a little bit of an insight into my process- for this painting at least!