Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Girl (Megan) Against a Wall - WIP

Here's a painting I've been working on off and on since the middle of last year. It's pretty small, considering the composition. It's only 16" x 20" on an MDF panel, gessoed many times. It's also a painting where I took a more serious approach to oil mediums. The medium used in this one is mostly 1/3 stand oil with 2/3 odorless mineral spirits. The initial layers were painted with mostly pure linseed oil which yellowed pretty quickly (which is why I began seeking out a similar, yet better medium.)

With this painting, I decided to do more work in progress photos of what I work on. I've tried to take photos at every significant stage on the piece. Subsequent pieces have had quite a few WIP photos as well (which I will post soon.) I want to show more of these WIPs so people interested can see how I work. The photos here start with the initial base layer of paint over the preliminary drawing. The preliminary drawing takes quite some time and I think the frustrations from that have kept me from taking more photos during or right after that stage. I need to take more photos during that stage since it's the foundation of my pieces. Anyway, after the block in and many measurements, I erase most of that and have an almost paint-by-numbers style drawing so laying in paint is much more solid and planned. I started doing this during my watercolor days, far before my oil days, and have been depending on a solid preliminary drawing more in the past few years.

This painting stars Megan as the model once again. It's in somewhat of a William Bouguereau style. I used similar techniques and composition. I'll say right away that I'm nowhere close to Bouguereau's skill, so don't think I'm trying to claim that. It is, however, the best way to learn from masters that one might admire. I started with a very thin, transparent layer of paint underneath, which establishes color boundaries and also enriches the layers that follow. The next layers become more opaque and give more of an idea of what the painting will look like in the end. Layers are the name of the game here. Even though each looks completely opaque, really, they each show a bit of the underlying layer. I do this in my charcoal and graphite drawings as well (I'll show that later.)

Also, please forgive the crappy photos. They were done quickly, since taking WIP photos haven't been perfected yet in my practice. Some have incorrect color balances, some are skewed a bit, and most have too many reflective imperfections. It's mostly to just give you a good idea of the stages.

I hope that explains enough. If not, please let me know.


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