Today I'd like to share my full process for a painting that I completed back in January of this year. Although the look of my current more contemporary series of paintings is different, my process is still essentially the same. I hope you enjoy this quick glimpse into my working methods!
For a large work such as this I typically start with a color study depicted in the below right corner. I made a couple of compositional changes to the swan's wing, the shape of the tree and the position of the figure that really made a difference in the feel of the final painting.
Next, I completed a detailed line drawing using Nitram HB charcoal. With this soft charcoal it is very easy to erase my lines if I'm not sure of the placement. Once I am happy with the drawing I go back over it with a harder more permanent Wolff's 2B charcoal pencil. I then gently remove as much charcoal as possible with a kneaded eraser so that excess charcoal does not muddy the oil paint I'm about to place over top.
Next, I toned the panel using raw umber and raw sienna to begin to establish general light and dark values. Doing this gave me greater paint coverage in the subsequent layers.
Now I began the underpainting using white, Raw umber, raw sienna, burnt umber and in the skintones terra rosa. The underpainting stage served to expand further the value structure of the piece as well as aided in initiating rendering of the three dimensional structure of the objects in the painting.
For the large areas, such as the sky and mountains, I premixed colors and tubed them in order to maintain perfect color matching throughout the painting. The last layer I completed in full color, section by section, to bring the painting to its final finish.