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Under-painting and the Monet effect

May 24, 2011

My latest painting is a portrait of my Nana. I like painting people when they’re natural and un-posed. I don’t think that she’ll particularly like the image of herself, but we had a nice day out and she tried her first Frappacino in Starbucks, so it’s got some happy memories for me. She wasn’t raving about the drink!

I start of by loosely sketching the image, this take about 15 minutes. The focus of the composition is too central, but hey!

Next I start the under painting. I use the pallet from my last painting of the dog, mainly because I hate wasting paint, but also because the colours are pretty muted and are complementary to my topcoat, I think this adds depth to the piece. I like using blues for darker areas, in fact I never use black in my paintings until the final sitting and usually only for eyes, It’s something that should be used sparingly in portraiture.
This has taken me about 30 minutes, it would have taken me less time but I was using tiny brushes… Too lazy to run up to my studio.

I’m painting in my kitchen this morning, I live in a town house and the kitchen is the only place that gets light in the morning. Light is one of the most important things when painting, I’ve had some dodgy results from painting late into the night in bad light. I call it the Monet effect.

Monet’s paintings produced while he was suffering from cataracts had a red/yellow murky and muddy undertone instead of the vivid blue/green. He destroyed a large number of his works when his sight was restored through frustration.
So remember kids, always paint in the sunshine. You can’t paint what you can’t see!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 6, 2011 4:28 pm

    Love it! Thanks for sharing some techniques. 🙂

    • July 6, 2011 5:54 pm

      Hi Jillian, thanks for stopping by. I’m always wondering how artist produce their work, so I’m going to include as much as I can, if only to remind myself and hopefully pass on a few tips. I’ll be finishing this over the next few weeks.

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