In this and the next few posts, I will be showing my process of painting. Now it is very basic, and quite honestly similar to most everyone elses, but it is a learning experience for me as well as some of you out there.
It all starts somewhere, and that is with the concept and basic sketch for the image. Sometimes it just comes from the A.D., and you are given a passage or discription from the story, or if time maybe even the book to read. In this case, I just basically wanted to do a zombie image, and did an extremely rough rough.
Now that you have your idea and a rough, you can either go to a colour comp, and lay out your colours and get all the lights and darks down. This is definitely the way to go because it gives you a reference of what you and or your client will be getting in the end. I actually did not do this on this one.........I had a very clear idea of what I wanted, and went straight for it, since it was going to be a personal piece.
After getting the sketch ( sketches in most cases ) and all done and approved it is time to get your idea on the board, or whatever it is you choose to paint on ( stretches canvas, canvas panel, illustration board...you get the picture ). I personally paint on gessoed Tracy-nite ( it is actually masonite, but I still like the term of Tracy-nite ). There is no one right way to get your image down on the board!!!
Repeat this phrase........
THERE IS NO ONE RIGHT WAY TO GET YOUR IMAGE DOWN ON THE BOARD!!!
Do whatever you can to get it on there. I use several methods of doing so on the same image. For this painting it was pretty simple, I just drew directly onto the surface of the board. In other cases, I will draw directly onto it, draw on tracing paper to get the image down, use a carbon paper to trace one of my drawings onto it. I have even scanned a drawing enlarged or reduced the image to fit the size I was working on, even flipped the image because I felt it would look better going the other way.
Some folks will do there complete drawing on a sheet of paper, and project it to the surface, and retrace it. Some will have there drawing done on paper and then apply it to a stiffer surface ( checkout Donato Giancola ).
Once I have the image down on the surface and all settled in the way I want it, I will first spray fix the image to the surface, sand it lightly to take any bit of slickness off, and then I will apply an acrylic matte medium to the surface. For this step, I just squirt it out of the bottle onto the board.
Once I have the medium on the board I will spread it about with a 2 inch foam brush and cover the whole surface with the stuff. Let it dry completely.
After it completely dries, I will lightly sand the surface.......not really sure why I do this, but I do. ........it may have something to do with some past wood working where I would sand in between layers of varnish........
anyway, after I sand the surface I will take my foam and run it under the faucet and wet it down completely, and then squeeze out all the excess moisture so that the brush is damp.
I will then re-apply the medium with the damp brush. Doing this tends to give me a smoother surface to work on.
After this step is done I will let it dry comepletely again. This is actually pretty important, if the medium is not COMPLETELY DRY, it can come up off the board and you are back to square one and starting over.
In doing the underpainting I am establishing the lights and darks and overall tone of the piece. Here in this one I am establishing the background with colour and tone in very thin oil washes, laying in the basic foundation of the gate with a black........I did this for two reasons, the black will show thru the paint once I start laying in the thicker paint for the background and once I get further into the piece, I will already have it basicaly painted and just have to re-establish certain areas and highlight the areas I want to show thru.
Except for the background, I will usually do the rest of my underpaints with asphaltum or burnt umber. O.k., here is where I find toning the surface to come in handy........ aside form taking the white out.......it gives me a basic mid tone all over the surface....so with either the umber or the asphaltum......I can establish the darks. For the lights I will take a rag and a wee bit of turps and wipe out the ochre to give me back my lights.
In the next post I will go into the actual painting of the piece.