Painting Process for "The Lookout"
I begin my painting by doing a detailed drawing in pencil,
(Which is almost impossible to see in this photo)
I then cover the drawing with a thin wash of
I then "redraw the painting with any darker color.
In this painting, I used Burnt Umber
Next, I begin to block in the background using a mixture of
Titanium White, Ultramarine Blue, and Burnt Umber. You
must work quickly in order to blend the colors. I use my largest flat
brush, working in an X stroke pattern to make sure I don't have any
directional strokes. Keep brush moist by lightly dampening with water
This will also help the blending process.
I then add a "middle value" of colors for
the clothing, rocks, and other elements. "Middle Value" is
not the darkest dark, nor the lightest light, but the medium,
general value, of that object. Paint is still rather thin.
Continuing to add color to the face, and make up my mind
about the design of the background and rocks. Decided to
have a mountain in the background instead of trees.
Add in a few darks to start to define some shapes. (Sorry about
the blurry shot.) At this point, I will still considering having snow
on the rock (the reason for the white patches).
Next, I have begun to do a little work on the face,
creating volume by adding white to my color mixtures.
Redrawing the eyes, mouth and nostrils. I have also added
a second layer of paint to all the elements, adding folds, seams,
and more anatomy to the hand.
I now add another coat of paint to the background trying
to complete it, so I don't have to paint around my subject.
I also begin to work on the hat and fur collar, using my favorite "worst brush".
This is one of my old round brushes that I have used for scrubbing
on paint. It is frayed at the top and makes some beautiful random hairs when
painting fur. I am using primarily Raw Umber and Titan Buff for the fur. I also have
scraped paint off the coat, to reveal some of the underpainting. This creates
some cool highlights and gives the fabric a distressed look.
To do this technique is not easy with acrylic paint. Unlike oil, you just can't
go in with your palette knife and remove the upper layers of paint.
I usually wet the area to be removed with my brush, and then use the palette knife
to carefully scratch off the upper layers. Don't scrape too vigorously, or you can put
a hole in your canvas :). The coat was painted with Payne's Gray, Carbon Black, Titanium
White, with some Permanent Green backlight.
I begin to work on the bag, the gun, and her shoe. I have also re-worked
her face a bit. I was unhappy with her nose.
I continue to work on the rock, using Burnt Sienna, Cadmium Red Light,
Dioxazine Purple, and Raw Sienna.
Once again, I am toying with the idea of snow. I don't do a lot of pre-planning
when it comes to my paintings. I like to put it on the canvas and paint over
it if I don't like it. That is the beauty of acrylics. It is a great medium for
someone who likes to work fast, and has no patience for drying times :). If
you make a mistake with acrylics, two minutes later you just paint over it.
Finishing things up. Fur and hat are done. Face
is completed. Hands and binoculars are yet to be
completed. The decision to not use the snow is made.
Bag and gun get some more work.
Still, a bit of tweaking left to do but pretty much finished. I will use two coats
of Polymer Medium Gloss on top of the painting when it's completely dry
(usually a couple days in warm weather, and perhaps a week in cooler temps).
The Lookout 24x36 Golden Acrylic on Canvas
To learn more about my techniques, I will be teaching an eight-week course on painting the Portrait and Still Life
in acrylic, at the Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art, beginning January 27. Please visit their website to sign up LAAFA. Also look for a variety of one-day workshops that I offer, and well as Golden Lecture Demonstrations, on the "Classes and Workshop" section of this website.
Wash Block in Add Features Add Opaque Layer on Face
Add Background Design Refine features, hair and Continue to work on facial Complete clothing
Finished Painting "The Critic" 24x48
Golden Acrylic on Canvas