A NEW ONE, DAY BY DAY – day 1

IMG_0014So I'm starting with a 36" x 48" canvas I stretched last week. I like tight canvas', and usually manage to either bow the frame, or cause some sort of run in the fabric stretching them so tight, but this one made it without incident. I did a quick sketch with pencil, then tint the canvas with a mixture of gamsol and cadmium red, burnt umber, and burnt sienna. this one I tinted in two coats, as I've been preferring a darker tint. It's way harder to see the sketch but it makes for a much better foundation for flesh tones.  My studio is TINY, so I usually let the tint dry in the bathroom. there's a fan in there and if I stay in the studio with that much gamsol in the air...I start feeling not good. plus there seems to be a little less dust and cat hair circulating around in there with the door closed than my studio. (I just tinted the section of the painting that will be the figure, since the background i'm planning thus far won't benefit from it at all). DAY 1 progress:

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I always start with the face; It's the most challenging, and the most important part of each painting. I've painted this model more than any other (I think this makes 6?)  so i'm starting to become accustomed to painting her features.

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This is about 5-6 hours in and about all I'll do the first day. I start with mid-tones, loosly painting the more open areas of the face. then I'll work in darks and then lights. I'll generally do all the flesh tones (without highlights or any detail) then move on to the eyes and lips. one of the most challenging parts of painting faces, is that for 90% of that first pass, everything looks wrong...in that it looks nothing like what it's supposed to. until all the features are on there, and most of the bone structure and details are brought out, the face looks pretty alien. once everything is in the right place, I'll then go in with highlights, and things hopefully start looking better.

the first pass of the face doesn't need to be perfect, and I'll leave a lot to later reworking and quite a bit of glazing, but as long as the first day is solid, i'm usually in pretty good shape to move on to the rest of the body.