"Best Friends", 8x10 oil on linen
Recently I realized that it would be a lot more efficient to be posting to one blog rather than both the blogs that I presently have in progress. If you've visited my 'demonstration' blog lately you'll see that it's been very sadly neglected. I've also decided it would be fun to re-post the demos here before I totally dismantle it, beginning with 'Best Friends'.
Step 1: I try to approach each painting with a fresh approach in mind and not by formula. So, in this little painting (10x8), I've begun on a white oil primed linen surface, rather than a toned one, which I've stretched myself onto stretcher bars. With a large bristle brush, using my medium of choice, maroger, I block in the lights and darks of my concept not being concerned about drawing at this point, just placing my figures in their space on my canvas. This is done quickly. It's difficult to get coverage on a slippery oil primed surface, but I like this....I keep the darks airy and don't worry about the brushstrokes showing. All of this creates possibilities from which to work with. I let this stage dry overnight and can hardly wait to begin laying in pieces of paint tomorrow!
Step 2: As you can see, I have refined my dark areas. As I mentioned in step 1, it's tough to get coverage on a slippery surface such as oil primed linen, so today I concentrate on creating those dark areas. With a little dry paint now on the canvas, it's easier to work. Also, I begin to lay in color using a larger brush, without worrying about drawing. My aim at this point is to stay with my original concept for this painting. I want to set these little girls into a circle of focus. Everything else in the painting is secondary. This is a lot of stuff in a tiny painting and so my goal is to try to minimize detail in the outer areas of the girls' figures and in so doing, hopefully make this confined space that the girls are in, appear as if it is in a very large space. Does that makes sense? Their faces remain in shadow....this is fun to paint....the mere gesture of these little girls tells the complete story. I am aiming for simplicity and hope to achieve that in the design of light and shadow that I've created. Keeping the distant landscape simple, I use it to add some color and direct the eye to the heads.
Step 3: Continuing to lay in pieces of paint, color as well as non-color, created by bringing the background color into the figures, creating their forms. Their faces are simply pieces of paint created with single, unaltered brushstrokes. I try to lay in the lights in an impasto fashion and not disturb the paint quality. I'm constantly pushing and pulling values...either making areas darker (keeping them thin) or areas brighter or lighter (impasto). This is so much fun!
Step 4: And the whole process continues. I endeavor to not lose sight of my original design and concept. Pushing the lights and de-emphasizing the areas that are unimportant, the area surrounding the girls. The landscape in the background is brightened and the paint quality thicker as I use this area to complete my original concept and design.
STEP #5 - Completed Painting
Completed Painting: "Best Friends", oil on linen, 10x8 A little more refining, brightening whites, more color, adjusting the background and the little painting is done.
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