Koi Painting work in progress painting…

Trying to pull together several painting so they can be finished, one for a customer, one for a show and one just for me.

Below you can see several paintings I have sitting about my studio space… I am working on all of them at once…. trying to get them either finished or started.   I work this way sometimes because its best to let some paintings sit rather then work on them too long.  They become over worked and stagnant if painted for hours and hours.   One is an oil painting which I just need a few adjustments and it will be complete…  its the water painting with the yellow trees.  The next looks like a light blue and purple combination, its also a water painting and we do not know where its going but I have a pastel kinda monet feeling for it so it will start in that direction.

The one on the floor is the one I started yesterday and I  will work on it today.  Its the only watercolor in the bunch so I’ll have to clean my pallet before I start painting it again.


This painting is sitting on my back porch to dry Its a combination of Gesso and watercolor painted on canvas.

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Work In Progress

The hair was very red so I glazed green thru it to give it a more ash brown color.  I also pulled out some of the hairline on each side of the head.  Its easy to make hair look like a helmet.  Especially if there isn’t an apparent part.  Earlier today I put a part in and it looked pretty good but I changed it back because this little guy doesn’t seem to ever have much of a part in his hair.  It allowed me to see the correct perspective.  This portrait will need a few more layers of color to get all the areas up to the correct value.  Right now…the skin appears a bit too warm but you will be suprised when the darks of the background are placed around the head how light the face will look.   Of course once the background is in I  can glaze another layer of color if needed.    I still have more to do, …the upper lip needs work, some softening and some modeling for the right side. The right eye isn’t right…  but I’ll get it.    By the way, use a template for the eyes, this will insure they are exactly the same size.    The right eye I decided not to paint it as it is in the picture.  This means I have to just wing it. The eyes are a bit darker on the computer than they actually are in person.   They look dark in the photo but I will probably not paint them that dark unless the client wants them really dark.  Both  eyes need highlights and low lights which I usually save for a little later in the painting (so I can have something to look forward to). 

The more I paint the face,  I’m finding it difficult to decide what the shirt color should be.  It would look great as a cool color but that isn’t really African.    Also the trees and such in the background will have to be a little cool so I will paint them with some blue in the leaves and some gray for the trunks just for some contrast. 

To answer some of your questions which I have been getting by email…

1.  I used sable brushes ( rounds and angled flats) for direct painting and a bristle brush for the softening or blending.  The round sizes are 04 to 12, the flat brushes are 1/2 inch and one inch.

I uses gallon jugs of clean water and have at least three of them on my painting table.  This is to make sure I never use dirty water.   Dirty water will leave sediment in the very light washes and make your painting have a dirty look.

I have several palettes you can see one of them on my daily painting blog   http://shantimarie.wordpress.com.  The one I use for this painting is a pallet that I use only for portraits because I do not want any of the colors getting dirty.  It has 22 mixing wells and a large center area. Its porcelain and gives me true color in the mixing area and it has a lid to keep the paints fresh.

I start the painting laying down but  as soon as possible, I move it to the easel because I stand while painting and a table is a little low for standing.   Also I have real day light type easel lamps which I use unless its a very bright day.

close up of face WIP

This photo isn’t as sharp as I would like but all this up loading takes time so it will have todo.  Here you can see my pencil lines. 

 I darkened the neck, it helps to shape the face .  I took out one of the ears as it was distracting and not needed.   The other ear needs to be refined and one of the eyes needs work ( the fold is off) These things will wait for another day.  I usually limit myself to two hours on each of these as they run the risk of being over worked.  Your mind works at a high level of concentration as an artist and will need a rest.  You will always see things a little better after puttng the piece away and coming back to it.  If you still want to continue to work on something, pull another painting  out and work on it. This way you will start  fresh and this piece will not become stiff.

“Koi Passage” finished?

Koi passage9

As you can see its dark and very late but I worked on this painting and I wanted to post an up date. I knew I didn’t have much to do to get it finished but just getting around to finishing it seemed like a chore. I don’t want to just paint when I’m painting these paintings, I want everything to be right. So I put off starting to paint when I know folks are coming over or  if I know I’ll be pulled away.

But you know how it is…. if you wait till the time is perfect, you’ll never finish.

I’ll get a better photo tomorrow when the out door light is good. This is a bit washed out on the top because of my strong overhead painting light.