Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Through a Blood Red Veil

oil on illustration board, 16x27

Here's a new piece completed for a private commission. At the request of the client, I was documenting the painting as it came along, so I figured I'd attach my process shots as well.

Step 1: thumbnails

Here are a few rough thumbs from the very early stages of the painting. At this point, I've discussed the general concept with the client (a harem girl dancing for a sultan, either in a palace or tent) and begin by playing with shape based compositions, more abstract than representational. The girl dancing is pretty much the only element that I know exactly what it is, the other shapes will evolve into figures and objects.

Step 2: rough sketch

Once I've done a number of thumbs, I'll either scan or re-draw the composition into photoshop and begin planning in value. In this case, my initial sketch was very loose just to check if the client is satisfied with the direction so far

Step 3: the drawing

Next I prepared a more resolved drawing which shows more clearly the details of the image. Perspective is still freehand and loose. I've also shot reference images for the figures. Sometimes I do this sooner, sometimes later, but I always reference my figures and any other subjects I feel necessary.

The client wasn't entirely happy with the pose of the girl and so I sent a revised version. I'm glad they requested the change, because the second go worked so much better!

Step 4: studies

These color studies were done to help plan the palette and value structure. Neither really satisfied me for a complete plan, but they helped prepare me for important decisions which would be made later on. These are oil on illustration board, about 5x8.5 inches each

This is a digitally reworked scan of color study #1 converted to B&W. At this point, I wanted a clear value plan to proceed with my underpainting.

Step 5: the transfer

Now that I have an approved drawing, reference, and a value plan, I begin to prepare the final painting. My illustration board has been cut to the correct size and prepped with three thin coats of acylic gesso. On a sheet of tracing paper/velum, I lightbox a transfer image in pencil from my sketches, drawings, and photo refs. This is done in reverse so that I can lay it on the board and rub the graphite onto the gessoed surface. I'm concerned with contours and shapes and only indicate tone as linear shapes of light and dark. I also make sure that my perspective is all correct and all details are as I want to paint them. This is the structure on which the painting will sit, so I prefer to get it right and not have to make changes down the road.

Step 6: the underpainting

Now I do a general value study in acrylic. This is just another step in the series of bringing the image into focus and the acrylic will seal down the graphite.

Step 7: executing the image in oil


ces said...

Wonderful painting!

I love the "red" colour you chose!

The Art of Kim Kincaid said...

David, This really turned out beautifully. Love the way the veil frames the left side.

Tessa Lake said...

I love the angles and colours you've used :)

Chun Lo said...

Great process! How long did it take you for all the studies and the prep work before the final painting?

David Palumbo said...

How long for the prep work? It's a little hard to say on this piece since it was worked in small pieces between deadline driven commissions (as a private commission, the due date was flexible). I'd say 10hrs thumbnailing and sketching, 2-3hrs gathering and shooting refs (plus additional time learning to use sketch-up), 4hrs for the drawing and transfer, and maybe 1.5hr for each color study. More time goes into the rough planning/plotting than the tightening up. After that, probably half a day to a day on the underpainting and a week or so with the oils.

Esther Morales said...

Amazing! Thanks for sharing your process :D said...

I love the second pose of the girl so much more than the first :)

Jake Murray said...

Wow, that's fantastic. What a wonderfully dynamic composition! Thanks for sharing.

Edward Halmurzaev said...

Great process!
Wonderful painting!

JJacks said...

Thanks for sharing! This turned out amazing.

Jonathan said...

Amazing! Thanks for sharing your process just love this painting from beginning to end.

Unknown said...

Gorgeous work. love the process

bill said...

Great piece Dave.

Americanheart said...

One of the most beautiful paintings I've ever seen, wonderful!!!