Here is a painting that I did today. I took a few photos of the process so you can get an idea of how I worked this one up.
One of the choices an artist has when they begin a painting is to limit the value range that they will work in. This can greatly affect the mood of the finished piece.
My goal was to make this painting in a high value key. That means that the values are mostly light as opposed to darker. Tomorrow I hope to get a painting in a lower (darker) key that I will post here.
"Woman and Doves" Step 1
Another decision that I made before starting this one is that I wanted there to be lots of juicy and loose brushwork. So, I decided to work on this one upside down. That way I am thinking of shapes and colors and not "things". I have decided to show these first two stages upside down, just how I was seeing it when I was painting.
In step 1, I mixed up five or six shadow colors and laid those in rather quickly. I was not interested at all in details here, just getting my design blocked in with some nice variety of color. Notice that none of these colors are very dark in value. They actually look a little darker here than they really are because of all that white linen that they are being compared to. I love painting reflected light, and this scene had some nice light bouncing around on those buttresses.
"Woman and Doves" Step 2
In Step 2, I started to add the light family of colors. Again, I mixed up a handful of subtle color variations on my palette first so I could compare them to each other before committing them to the painting. Since I wanted this painting to have a loose look, these strokes needed to be put on and left alone.
Here is where I began to really work my edges leaving some hard and softening others. I am still working on the painting upside down. I did not start painting the color of the woman's clothes yet. I wanted to get most of my subtle colors down first so I could compare my color choices to the colors that are going to be around her in the finished painting.
"Woman and Doves" , 14" x 18" oil on linen, 2007
Here is the finished painting. I wanted the woman to be the center of interest, so that is where I put the brightest colors and some of the hard edges. I also added the doves here at the end so I could just lay them in loosely and not disturb them by trying to paint around them. I was careful where I placed them. I think that they add to the movement from left to right in the painting.
Detail "Woman and Doves"
I don't know why, but with blogger, it seems that the colors are always better when you click on the paintings and see the larger version. They are closer to the actual colors of the paintings.