My Process: Part One

I thought I'd try something I'd never done before: I'm going to document my process as I am working on a painting. I realized that I do not have any "in progress" images of any of my work. Not to mention, this should keep me on a schedule to complete this portrait. So, to start, what I am working on is a portrait of my two children. I took a number of pictures of them, as well as sifted through numerous other ones, to find what I wanted to use. I ended up using these two photos:

I thought about explaining why I picked these particular ones, but I think I would like the final painting to speak for itself. If anyone knows my kids, I hope they can see my reasoning. Put simply, I found images that not only reflected their personalities, but also their relationship as brother and sister. From these photos, I joined them in Photoshop to work on cropping and composition:

I didn't want all the stuff in the background to take away from the composition, so I blurred it. Next, I printed it out and began a sketch:

After much fine tuning, I scan the drawing and enlarge it on the computer. Then I print it out in "tiles" and piece it all together. This portrait is larger than most of my work – about 20" x 15". Looks like it's time to break out the big brushes!

Next, I get my watercolor board and transfer the printout to the board using graphite paper. I used to use carbon paper, but that stuff's pretty permanent. The graphite paper's like using light pencil – bold enough to see, and easy to erase and lift later.

And here's where I stand now: A board that is masked on the edges with painter's tape and the drawing enlarged and transferred. Next step: the beginning washes!!

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