Sunday, July 22, 2012

"Medea" Work in Progress

I seem to have forgotten that I have a blog.  Thought I would update you all with a little work in progress I am currently working on.  It is only 12x12 inches so a fairly quick work for me.  It is Medea, the villain witch of Euripides' play.  I do love those enchantresses with a bad rep.

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.

You can barely see it in the pic, but it is a nice greyish sea green.  I remember reading an artist once saying that there is a lot of grey in human skin color, but our eyes just don't really register it.  Putting little hints of grey in there can help you achieve a more realistic skin tone.

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.

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