Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Brooke, a work in progress

This is the start of a painting I've wanted to do for some time. I will show you more of the full composition as the painting progresses, but this is the start of laying paint over my drawing which, by the way, is totally hand drawn and NOT traced from an overhead or digital projection of a photograph as many artists do today. I'm not saying that is a bad way because artists are winning big awards with that technique, so it must be okay; it's just that I like the challenge and the process of hand drawing my portrait subject and manually laying out the composition. To me, process is more than half the fun. For this particular piece, I did the drawing on a piece of architectural 'butter paper' so I could make all the corrections before transferring it to the canvas. After I was satisfied with corrections, I transferred my original drawing to the canvas via a piece of graphite paper. 
The first image above shows the first wash of oil paint thinned with turp used to tone the canvas and define the subject. Through the years I have learned to work on more than one painting at a time. One canvas dries while I paint on another. It keeps me from overworking any one piece and gives time for the muse to ponder what is best done next.


This second image shows an early stage with the base skin color on the face. Please watch for updates to come in a few days after this layer of oil paint has dried. This portrait will be slowly built up with layers of paint, not painted alla prima as I do on the daily paintings. 

You can't wait on life. If you do, you're living some life that's "gonna happen" instead of the one that's happening right now. --Ann Richards, quoted from The Book of Texas Wisdom compiled and edited by Criswell Freeman.