Here is the beginning sketch done in graphite on a Ampersand artist panel.
I plan for there to be roses and a moth surrounding her. I think the moth will be there to symbolize death and transformation.
After I have the sketch drawn I have to seal it. For this work I used clear gesso. After it dried it gave the work a really nice surface that the paint and I both really loved.
The next step is deciding on an underpainting color. Doing soft pastels for many years I discovered I really hate to start with a white surface. Pastel paper is often toned to a color that helps to build up skin tones in the work. I try to paint the work a color that will help me build the skin tone I am shooting for. Lately I have been using a lot of crimson red tones to start with. For this one I want her skin pale, almost frosty. I decided to start with a sea green color.
Next I play with some drips and background fun. I decide to go with two of my favorite colors here, sea green/or turquoise and yellow ochre. Which will both look great with the red roses I add later.
Now to go at that skin tone. I never have a set formula for skin tone. I usually use some combo of white, yellow ochre, unbleached titanium white, some kind of pinky orange. I basically just start slapping colors down and slowly add more or less of one or the other depending on what I want to achieve. This happens in many layers. Here is the first one:
She is a little too pink at this stage, but I like the transculent feel, which is what I am going for. I am really liking the sea green shadow areas too. Still need to work on her nose and mouth....not quite right.
This one was a bad pic...but I am laying on more skin tone, getting it closer to where I want. I also have her nose looking better. I started adding the roses also.
This last pic is where she is right now. I am going to go to town on that moth and the roses now, but I am pretty happy with her face at this point, just needs a little cleaning up....and the hair needs detailed. Should be done with her soon though. Hope you like her.