wip #8 oil painting in progress painting by Shanti Marie

You can see about three layers of various colors I have chosen to paint. These colors are about 4 times darker than the first layer of color. Most are the same colors only darker.

Here you might see I have started to put the color in for the Geisha. I always include the same colors in the background in the fore ground. Here I have painted purple, green and blue in the hair, because these colors are in the water. The red’s I choose are important… I’m thinking along the lines of opposites of the blues and greens.

Oil Painting Work in progress #5 the water

I start out light… this is not the way most painters start… Usually you would start out with the darks, but since I have a bit of a tendency to paint very dark I have decided to apply this paint in reverse.
I don’t want to use a plan (believe me I know all the methods for applying paint and planning a painting and this works best for me) I like to allow intuition or what ever you want to label it, be my muse.

All I have decided is I want a wave of water and a geisha. Perhaps I may add other asian type symbols into the piece… some of these may be a ginkgo leaf, or a maple leaf, we’ll see if they end up in the final painting.

Wip 3


After quickly drawing in the face, I felt the geisha was a bit too old looking( most geisha are under 30) and since most geisha are very young, I decided to give her a younger more girl like look. I added the fan for shape and basically did a grey scale of her face, hair and flower ornaments.

If you like to draw out your subject matter, you can use charcoal or graphite. Of course many artists just use oil paints which are thinned down. Some folks use turp, thinner or naphtha to thin down the oil paint. Usually for less detailed objects the thinned down paint is easy, especially to paint shapes or to block in areas. Since the face is a bit more detailed I have used charcoal for the face of the Geisha.

Adding texture to the ply wood (step 2)

When preparing your wood for panting, you may wish to add texture. Sure you can add texture with paint but paint is a bit expensive and Gesso is usually less expensive.
Here are just some of the tools I use to create texture with Acrylic Gesso. A cake decorating spatula, (or a large palette knife) paint brushes, plastic lids of various sizes. Anything from a butter container to a coffee container will work fine. Your hands, rags, rubber shapers, (you can make your own from ink erasers) & various types of nap rollers, smooth to rag, it all depends upon the effect your looking for. Really anything you have around the house can add texture, just look around and find things you would like to introduce, such as lace, screens, webbing, fabric,  & stamps, etc.

In the two examples you can see the variety of looks you can achieve. The first is my pencil box which I have painted in watercolor on textured gesso and sealed it with a clear gloss, the other example is a block of wood covered in gesso, sanded lightlyt and also painted in watercolor but this time sealed with a matt seal coat.

It would be a good idea to try both and see what combination fits your style.

This is a close up of gesso on the spatula doesn’t it looks like frosting?

You may want to put the gesso on the reverse side of the spaula, it makes it easier to apply.

Below is a rubber shaper, you can push the gesso around before it dries or use it to pull gesso off the surface.

Palette knives can put small lines of gesso on the canvas or wood panel if the gesso is applies from the side.

Scumble anything over the surface and it will skip making some really great texture.

Here I’m going for  the look of water..

Using the very smooth roller I’m making almost no texture I want this area smooth for  the figure.  Too much texture can be distracting,  try to find a bit of balance in your piece.

Here I have applied tape to the wood and after painting gesso over it, pull it off to leave a negative shape

In the photo below, I’m using a small butter container lid to put the gesso on in large swaths. You just have to cut the roundness off of one edge and create a nice curved or straight edge so the gesso will roll onto the wood.

This is the final photo showing how the Plywood looks. When it dries it will be ready to paint on or draw if that is your choice.