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  • Writer's pictureJessica

painting process

Happy New Year!

I started my 15-in-30 painting challenge on New Years Day and finished the first painting this morning, January 4th. Some paintings just take a little longer to emerge than others and this one was very much worth the wait. If it means I need extra time to get to 15 paintings, it will be so worth it. Patience is key!

Today I want to share a behind-the-scenes look at my painting process. I often start with a reference photo. I will have an image in my mind of what I want to paint and will find a photo that's close to that initial idea. I crop the photo to the same proportion as the canvas I'm using and set up the composition.

When I begin the painting I sometimes use a pencil drawing to establish the composition. Sometimes I use paint. Then I do a full underpainting. I cover all the white of the canvas and using yellow as my lightest color and magenta as my darkest color I try to fill in the values (the lights and darks). I try not to worry about form at this stage and often I'm so relaxed that I love how loose it looks and then I don't want to paint over it! That's a good time to take a break.

The next layer is when panic sets in. I cover up the bright underpainting and start to give form to the subject. Usually it looks absolutely terrible for a while and I doubt myself and start to feel paralyzed with fear. Instead of stopping I try to laugh at myself and keep painting. If I can push through and start to see the form come together I will relax and enjoy myself again!

When I'm nearly done I will take another break. With fresh eyes I will see what areas are still bothering me and make any final touches.

When I know it's done, I sign it! Now I have one that's finished. Just 14 more to go! ;)

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