Although many artists prefer to keep their work from the public eye until it is finished, I’d like to think that some people may be interested to see works in progress. This way you can see the progression from an idea or image to its fruition. There can be many changes that occur during the process of creating a piece that may not be visible once the finished product is available. It could be that others just want to see how the piece is put together. I will post pictures of “works in progress” here for anyone who wants to see them.
I began this portrait of a Meiji period geisha many years ago but somehow it had to be put on the back-burner. I had always meant to work more on the arm, and to put a pattern on her kimono..
She used to look like this:
Here is the under-painting of the sorceress Morgan le Fay casting spells.
And further stages..
Until we have the finished painting…
One painting I worked on recently began life with this photograph sent to me by my friend Dan.
Apart from the obvious -the cuteness which somehow manages to avoid being chocolate-box cute, I was very struck by the composition that Dan seems to capture perfectly, having a large dose of my beloved Japanese woodblock prints, which in turn heavily influenced some of the the French Impressionist paintings I admire most.
The first stage was a basic drawing, then thin washes of acrylic paints to create an under-painting. Although this will be completely covered with further layers of paint, it’s good to have it as a base, giving an idea of how things are going to look and some sort of reference point to go back to if things go wrong.
Here it has been roughly worked over with the first layer of oil paint, giving some texture and strengthening the colours.
The finished painting.
The next painting was worked in pen, inks and airbrush.
The initial drawing contained a lot of workings-out, lines of perspective that wouldn’t be shown in the finished work. The figures were drawn on separate pieces of paper, so that I could try different places for them, until I had them where I wanted them. It helps to be able to move them a fraction left, right, up or down. The drawing in this case flowed over onto the tape that held the paper taught.
Next the basic outlines were traced and transferred onto the final piece of newly stretched paper. A lightly tacky masking film was placed over and the outlines cut round with a scalpel so that parts of the film could be removed. These ‘unmasked’ areas could then be progressively sprayed with ink using an airbrush.
This, above, shows how the basic airbrushing already gives some feeling of the room. The parts that were left masked out by the film are still white, waiting for me to draw in the details.
Here, I’ve gone over it with a pen and Indian ink, getting a lot of details in place, even adding detail to the airbrushed areas.
Grandfather sits carving a model of the unicorn, while Young Annek (based on the pronunciation of my home town, Alnwick) reads stories from The Great Book.
At this point I start working over it with washes of coloured inks, using brushes. From now on it’s a case of working over it almost like a jigsaw, filling in the white areas, bit by bit.
Lots of details such as the woodgrain of the table in the foreground are gradually realised. With inks on paper no big changes can be made, so everything has to be planned well at the very beginning. Small adjustments are sometimes possible though. Here I’ve changed the fruit juice in the jug to milk. At this point all that’s left to do is more work on the items on the table, strengthen the yellows to create a warm glow, airbrush the ring of light round the candle flame and deepen the shadows made by the light of the fire.
The time it took to create this scene was about two weeks work.