People have been asking me lately about my process. Unfortunately, I don’t have an easy answer because I don't have a set approach to painting. I may do things differently based on subject, size, purpose of the painting, my mood, whatever. I decided to turn this Different Strokes challenge into a WIP, so those people who are interested could see one of my methods for tackling a painting.
Unless my painting has to be perfect, I prefer to skip measuring. It makes things tedious and takes the fun out of it. For this particular subject, I’m not concerned with perfection. Close is good enough, because no one will likely know if it isn’t perfect. Which means I’m not measuring (hooray!).
Step 1: I cut a 7” x 5” piece of suede matboard and tape it to a piece of cardboard. I then crop and print the reference photo to the same size, taping it next to the board. This will allow me to check size, values, and shapes, and is particularly useful to check accuracy when standing five or six feet back.
Next, I pick out pastels in a light, medium, and dark value. Not the lightest light, or darkest dark, of course – that’s like dessert for me, so I save it for later. I use the light pastel, making marks where the lights are in the ref photo, then do the same with the middle and then the dark values. Now I have a basic sketch.
Step 2: Obviously, I’m going to be using some pastel pencils with this piece. Her face is only ½” big. There’s no way I’ll get enough detail with these fat pastels. Using a gray pastel pencil, I define the figures.
Step 3: Going back with the pastels again, I work on the values.
Step 4: I alternate between pastel pencils and pastels, refining the drawing.