Behind the Scenes of Thesis Paintings! (Part 1 of 2)

July 31, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

Hello all!

 

Today I would like to share with you some of the technical process I went through to make some of my favorite paintings for my thesis.

To begin with, I generally use acrylic paint and ink on clay board or masonite. In this case I mainly used clay board because it was very smooth, strong and easily acquired at Blick Art supply in downtown San Francisco. I tend to get frustrated with canvas because I end up spending more time trying to fix the edges of the strokes rather than the actual painting.

In terms of painting brushes I really like using filberts because they lay down flat shapes easily, evenly and give a great amount of control. I use a variety of filbert sizes ranging from tiny to large. I also really love working with round brushes because it facilitates better line quality for details. For blending I use a lot of dry brush with big old brushes, usually a square wash type that has nothing to loose.

When it comes to the paint itself I am a Liquitex girl and I buy mostly heavy body and some of the soft body type. I use the soft body when I am layering bright or important colors or fixing edges because it is so smooth there is no hastle of consistency and its rather thin. I prefer heavy body for the majority of the painting because it gives me a strong, curvy, and opaque texture.

Other things that help me while working: Have a few large water containers and change them often. Value, drawing edges is the mantra of the amazing Rober Hunt and it works everytime. Check the lighting in the room to make sure the paint doesnt have any obscurity. I like to give myself a lot of room to step back and see the painting from a far (this is specific to larger paintings). Making sure I have the adequate reference is important but I dont like to use it after a certain point to keep the painting personal and expressive.

(This is the first of a two part series. To view part 2, how I made the Elizabeth Bathory painting go HERE)

 

Here we go!

The ever horrifying Amelia Dyer is going to be the example here:

1) I started with reference and drawing few quick sketches to work out any composition issues. This one is pretty simple so I went more directly into the painting than usual. Amelia’s face is, as someone once said “perhaps the most creepy biographical photo on wikiperia” which made it really fun to work with.

The tape I used was a black masking tape (because a strip of edging tape around the infants neck was her signature) and I basically wanted the general shape to frame her. I also tried to get a little gradation from the upper edges.

2) Next I blocked in the basic shapes

3) You can see here below the nice effect the tape has given as I continue to develop the face.

 

4) Still looking messy but I am working out the colors and values.

5) Now its time to tighten it all up and add some detail!

 

 

6) I always add the iris and pupil dead last because if I mess up or something needs to be changed its way more frustrating to have to re-do the most emotional part. The yellow was used for the eyes to respond to the blue in the rest of the painting and make the eyes pop. ( The color below is not accurate, it is more like the photo above. )

6) I used some light purple to offset the blue and give it variation as well as some more tape. I also went in with my small ink brush and gave a few defining lines. After lighting the painting properly to ensure the closest match of colors we finally end up with the finished product:

 

 

This is the first of a two part behind the scenes series.

To see how I made the Elizabeth Bathory painting go HERE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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