Today I began a new painting of Victor, using a photograph I shot of him a few years ago when we were both in Hawaii. I began in the usual way, by tacking up several versions of the source photo next to a piece of canvas, then sketching a rough drawing onto the canvas. Then I mixed up a neutral purplish-brown color and watered it down a bit so I could do a wash over the entire drawing. While that was drying, I started mixing my colors.
I began with the darkest darks–a very dark green for the darkest areas of the background, and a very dark reddish-purplish-brown for the deepest shadows on the body. Then I added a thin layer of medium-dark green over most of the background, and some light yellow for the foreground. At this stage I’m using bold, energetic strokes without worrying too much if they’re exactly right. My goal is to lay in the main lights and darks while keeping the brushwork lively and energetic.
With the major dark areas in place, now I can add some of the lights. I’m still focusing on keeping the brushwork energetic and loose, not worrying about detail at all. Now that I’ve got the major patterns of light and dark in place, the painting is beginning to actually look like something. I’ll post further progress tomorrow.