Painting Process Of Janina

It was one of those moments where inspiration had me completely certain that I could paint this portrait of Janina in oils. despite the fact that I had hardly tried working with oils before, and despite the fact that I hadn't successfully completed a painting or drawing of the size that I had in mind. But I've learned to never doubt those moments of inspiration that come and gives confidence to your abilities, for it'll seldom let you down. However, it was still quite a challange for me and through the process I learned a great deal.

First off I had to determine which canvas I'd use and then my colour base. I chose a 30"/30" gallery wrapped canves and selected my paints. I always lay out everything I'll need before I get to work so that way I won't have to interrupt my painting time. Then I did a basic sketch of the painting basing it off of my reference photo. This took me all of an hour to do, which if you know me, this is good time. I love the sketching stage and done right the first time lets me have a clear determination on whether or not I'll succeed. It went well as planned and I went straight to painting. Now, like I had mentioned before, I had little knowledge of oil paints so I was instantly confronted with frustation at trying to paint the first eye on the left. The rule is 'Thick on Thin' when it comes to oils, meaning that you usaully start with the first layer quite thinned using linseed oil and then your next layer should be applied using less linseed thinner. Only it took me quite a while to figure out how that worked. So its safe to say that it took quite some time before I had even figured out why my first layer kept on coming off. Eventually though I got the hang of it.

Eyes are always my favourite thing to start with as they capture the emotion and life of any painting. After painting the eyes I work my way down to the nose, cheeks and then mouth. This all took quite some time and of course loads of coffee. Honestly people, where would I be without coffee! Mmm, that gorgeous black liquid......... Anyway I'm straying from the topic here. So, it took quite some time to do, we're looking at around ten to fifteen hours here. Though it might surprise you that the hair took the most amount of time to do. Partially because I hadn't really succeeded with painting hair before, so on this painting I made sure to take my time in order to do it justice. Skin tone too, was also a bit of a challange as you'd be surprised at how many different colours are perceived by our eyes.

My favourite part to paint were the hands or more like wrists. Funny thing is they look so simple to paint off of the reference photos, but in actuality for me anyway, they proved to be quite difficult. Again the whole skin tone process took quite some time to replicate. But you know how it is, the bigger the challenge the more I learn and enjoy. That's just the thing about painting, It's never a chore. It can take hours and days to complete a painting, or as in this case over a month, but every time I feel the brush in my hands move over the surface of the canvas, well, all time stands still. The only thing in the world is you and that canvas. Man, I'll tell you, it's almost addicting.

When it comes to finishing a painting, I'm almost certain that every artist would agree, the hardest part is saying it's done. Because there's always gonna be something you want to fix or add. There's always that moment of hesitation when you go to put your signature on it. That's just the beauty of any painting though, that moment when the artist finally realizes that there's nothing that he/she can do to improve what is already done. Gotta say though, I do love seeing my signature on my work. It gives a sense of finality to the work I've done. In total this painting took me around thirty hours of a month or more to complete. My inspiration didn't let me down and I was able to do something that previously I would never have imagined being able to create.


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