I thought I would try to give you an idea of the process that goes into a new painting:
I first lightly pencil in the figure and add thin washes of color to establish skin tones.
I then pencil in the background and wash in color, always keeping it light. The colors will be intensified with additional layers of paint. If anything needs to be changed it’s not a problem at this point.
The layers of colors have dried. Parts are masked off to begin the night sky. Several layers of color get added to the main part. Before this dries the splattered stars are put in. If the bottom layer is dry the splatter effect will run.
I add more layers of color. Drying time has to occur between layers. I usually have at least 3 paintings going at a time because of the drying time. You don’t want to work into wet or tacky paint for a multitude of reasons.
The changes I make to a painting are not that noticeable from this point on. By this time there are as many as 5 to 8 layers of paint. The subtle changes that I make in small areas most people don’t see but they are critical in the sharpening of edges. It’s important not to rush to an ending.
The last stage now can have as many as 12 layers of paint. I’m sure there are easier ways to work but this is my method. By layering color I hope it gives the sense that the figure glows from the inside out. I’ve kept my palette simple and modeled the figure as delicately as possible showing no brush strokes. In contrast the wall has washes of paint along with palette knife work. The night sky is washes of paint along with splattered paint. This creates tension among the 3. By this point I’ve spent up to a 100 hours on this painting but it is usually spread out over a month and I work on other paintings while parts dry. I work almost everyday for 4 to 8 hours and begin around 7 am. I have 2 rooms – one is a studio, and the other I sleep and read in. So I’m always looking at my paintings and right now there are 4 paintings in different stages of completion. But this one is done.