Last week I wrote about my journey painting my latest portrait, “The Doll Maker from Cabo”. This week I’ll continue my thoughts as I completed the portrait. Progress shots appeared on my Facebook Fan Art Page as they appear here.
My emotions of painting a portrait or any painting for that matter are not atypical from any other artist. I think we, as artists, all feel and go through somewhat these same stages from fear of a blank canvas to thinking we aren’t good enough then thinking we’re not that bad but yet fear public approval and failure. Although it always ends well when it is finished with that feeling of accomplishment.
Last week I ended where I was painting the stone wall and the lighting through successive layers. You can see the difference here as compared to the previous post’s progress. This week, I continued that layering process and began detailing the figure and the facial expressions and the hands.
The underpainting is done darker and I built the light on the face in additional layers. As you can see, sometimes it gets a bit messy on the canvas as I was blending the background into the figure.
The next step I continued with the figure but also started the next layer with her sweater and the shadows. At this point, the face was nearly completed. Only minor highlights and adjustments were made at this point. Completing the face in a portrait helps me complete the painting. I could see that I was headed in the right direction.
I painted the first layer of the sweater with the light and the folds roughly placed. I believe I also adjusted the hue of blue that I used in the darker shadows as compared to the next layer. I also started the scarf around her neck at this point.
At this next point, you can see the sweater getting a deeper refinement in successive layers of paint. I reworked the darker areas and blended them into the lighter areas. I love working on folds in clothing.
The scarf was also nearly completed and the highlights in the face and hands were completed. I also started painting the toy doll and ribbons she was holding in her hands in order to build a contrast between her hands, sweater, and scarf.
The darker side of the sweater was nearing completion as I started to focus on the lighter side of the sweater. An embroidery on her sweater would be placed in the next painted layer. It may be hard to see here, but in the final picture, you can see it better. At this point, I knew the painting was going my way and that it would be good. Ah, that feeling of accomplishment and success.
It was looking good, but I was anxious to get the folds and light falling on the dress and apron correct. The apron would have a line pattern added but I didn’t want to obsess about that part yet. I only wanted to get the folds and the shadows correct and I knew everything else would fall into place. If the line patterns were wrong, then I feared failure.
At this point, I completed the dress and the apron and I added all the lines in her apron. I didn’t obsess about getting each and every line absolutely correct as it looked in the original photograph. All I needed was the light to be correct on the aprons and the lines to follow the folds with the appropriate shades of dark vs. light in the lines.
I also started the ribbons in the foreground. It was nearing completion! The ribbons ended up harder then expected. There were more ribbons then I thought along with all the overlaps and gradient lighting in the ribbons!
Now for the foreground and the finish! I had to go over the ribbons in multiple layers. It took over a week maybe two to get them correct. I also adjusted some of the colors from the original, but you would be hard pressed to find the difference.
Now on to the actual doll figures and completion. The dolls were painted fairly quickly as compared to the ribbons. I spent more time on the dolls clothes and foreground items then on the dolls themselves.
And now for the finished painting:
For those interested in how long it took to paint this (as that is sometimes a question asked), here are the stats. The painting was started on July 17th and finished on September 18th. The actual time spent painting was 102.5 hours working 29 days. I didn’t work on this every single day nor do I paint on the weekends. So this accounts for the painting taking roughly 2 months but only working on it for roughly 1 month. With oil painting, you have to wait in between layers to dry sufficiently before continuing, which is another factor.
For those interested, the original oil painting is $2691. If you’re interested, let me know. I will also eventually have this available as prints and canvas giclee, so if you prefer this in a smaller version at a cheaper cost, let me know as well!
Let me know what you think of the final painting! Show me the Love in the comments below or follow my Facebook Page and leave me a comment!
Now on to the next painting. This will be another portrait, one with children. The title will be a metaphor for the painting. So “Like” and follow my Facebook Fan page and watch the progress as it begins!