From The Easel; Building A Love Note In Paint

When painting a portrait it often feels like a love note in paint for me. The following pictures are some of the steps to creating one such “love note”. I recently painted this portrait of one of my daughters, Nikki and our puppers, Kota. It had started out as just a simple sketch of a nice summer day, but I liked the pose and decided it would make a nice painting. The following are some of the steps taken to build on this portrait and create something both meaningful to me and interesting to the viewer. I call this; “Walking On The Fourth” as I completed it around that time. Enjoy!

After I had lightly sketched in the initial drawing, I then started to block in the basic shapes with an underpainting of the general colors I planned to use.

I then began filling in the facial features, and added more to the background as well as added some more smaller details to the figure. Then I began to layer in more detail on the fence and on the piece of wood on the ground. Adding more trees as well as more colors and leaf shapes to the trees that were already there, gave the background more depth. At this point I also added some more shading and fur to Kota’s image.

Unfortunately I hadn’t gotten enough sequential photos to show all of the details used to further flesh out and finish this painting. Needless to say, there was some reworking, and a bit more detail work needed, such as the layers on Kota’s fur, and darkening Nikki’s hair. I did this until it felt finished to me. (Something I’ve gotten better at over time, is knowing when a painting is finished. Maybe I’ll tackle that topic soon!) I hope you enjoyed seeing some of the steps that brought this painting to life. Thank you for stopping by. See you next time!

From The Easel; Steps of a Commissioned Piece

Having had some dental issues in the last few weeks, I didn’t get a chance to post anything yesterday. But as they say; “Better late than never”! I have wanted to post a series of photos that chronicle the making of a painting for some time. About a year ago I was given a commission and I had photographed many of the stages of creating it. I feel that this is a good representation of the making of a commissioned piece. So here I give you, “Mack”.

I was asked to create a painting that represented something that is very important in the lives of this family, for their young son. The father is a truck driver, and their son is crazy about trucks. Other than that, I wasn’t given anything else in particular to go on. I found this to be a good thing as it gave me a little more free reign to design this heirloom for them. As Their son was still quite young, but kids grow quickly, I decided that it should be playful, yet be something that he would be OK with having for some time as he grows older.

In this first image, you can see where I had lightly sketched in the body of the truck, and the beginnings of aspects that would make it feel more substantial. I then added some paint to begin “fleshing it out”.

Blocking in the background gave me an idea, and feeling of place.

In this photo I began to paint the sign on the side. As you can see, I left highlights where the metal of the truck bumps outward. I thought at this point to leave parts like this to give the sign a somewhat “worn” look.

Here I began to block in different areas to give it more depth.

At this point I started to add some fun elements. As you can see, the truck is now hauling a load of candy, peeking out from under the tarp at the top of the truck.

In this image I’ve blocked in a layer of under painting to begin building on and continue giving the painting more depth. I also added the name of the truck.

In the above three images I had begun to give the truck more realism, filling in the tires, and adding highlights to the fenders.

Here I’ve added more candy, and lights to the top of the cab of the truck. At this point I also began changing the walls where the “dig” was, showing that this was a candy “mine”.

Things were coming together, and I then added more whimsy to the over all look of the sign.

Here I added more highlights, and color for depth, as well as added the name of the young boy to the door of the truck.

After adding some work on the back and fore ground,(and adding a shadow of a man driving), this painting was finished!

It is always a bit nerve wracking to do a commissioned piece. You never know if the client will be pleased with the finished product. But I’m happy to say, they loved it! I hope you enjoyed seeing how this painting came together, and I hope to do more like this in the future. See you next time!