I have started on this painting of Thomas a while back but posting some progress now. As usual I started with the head. I prefer to finish the head first before anything else because, the face is the focus of this painting. I have tried building everything up at the same time, but I have wasted a lot of time ending up with a failed piece, as no matter how well the body, and the rest of the areas are painted, if the face is not done well, I cannot use the painting. Only if I finish the head well, only then I proceed with the body, but If the head is failed, I can stop the project and start over without having wasted time working so much on other areas. Also, if the model cannot continue with further sittings for whatever reason, at least I can have the finished head study, whereas I could end up with just an overall unfinished piece if I had been working on all other areas at the same level.
I began blocking in the large shapes with a rather large brush, using burnt umber oil paint and titanium white. I draw with values rather than lines, so laying it in with paint with a large brush helps me achieve results faster and more accurately than I would with lines. I do not care for details at this point, but just laying in quickly the lights and darks.
I continued defining the face more and more to gradually smaller forms and details. I started using smaller and smaller brush as I went down further into details. I like to treat my painting as if I am sculpting with clay. First throwing on big globs of clay onto the head armature, then modeling and defining from there.
After I felt pretty comfortable and solid with the established monochrome head, I began applying the colors to start colorization. I used opaque oil paints instead of the common glazing techniques, but I used small brushes and worked bit by bit section by section to not lose the underpainting that I’ve spent much time on.
After I felt somewhat comfortable with the colored head, I started moving on to the figure. I started from neck down, and worked downward from the head, using mostly big brushes, masking in the values. I also started thikning of the overall composition at this point. This is a 30″x40″ canvas. I usually do not prefer to do any preliminary comp studies, but try to be spontaneous and figure out the composition as I progress.
Pic from the sitting.
To be continued..