If ever anyone asks about the steps that go into producing an artwork I become very enthusiastic and start throwing about words such as “under layers” and “base tones” , saying things like “the skin has a beautiful purple tone underneath” and “you have to build up tones and then knock them back”… It all makes perfect sense in my head! I find the whole process very interesting and I love sharing it with others and so I thought I might share with you the process behind this portrait I painted in 2014.
The main goal here is to build an exaggerated version of the colours you want to see in your completed piece. I do this by taking a look at the reference photo and trying to determine the tones lying beneath the colours as they first appear.
It is at this stage that a slightly more realistic look is introduced to the painting. This layer will still lack any real detail but it’s here that you start to build up more realistic colour layers.
By this stage details which should be prevalent in the finished product can start to be introduced, definition is created by building up highlights.
At this stage, the aim is to achieve a more natural version of the colours first used in the base coat. Another layer is added to the background carefully so as not to lose too much of the shape of the subject.
By this stage as much fine detail as possible needs to be added, the only thing t left to do is to add the final punches of colour that should “lift” the painting and really bring it to life.
The finished product
480mm x 550mm
Oil on canvas