New Painting - Step One

As promised (sort of) here is the first post in a series of posts that will show a step-by-step of the creation of my latest painting, “Salt and Pepper”.

The idea for this painting took shape last year while spending a day photographing various still life set ups using perishable items found around the house. Soon I realized that using the little girl’s gaze might be fun and interesting. After considering several objects to pair her with, I went with the one object that would put a bit of a twist on a very common household item.

I wanted a dark background, so I placed a piece of dark blue cloth behind there. As you’ll see in later steps, the way it was positioned and lit became almost irrelevant.

The first step is not always set in stone for me, but on this piece I began with a fairly detailed outline in pencil and no other shading. Sometimes it's good to do a full blown pencil value breakdown, but in my rush to get to the "fun" parts of the process I didn't do that this time. Plus the fact that I had photographed this subject various ways and under various light angles, then proceeded to manipulate it in Photoshop - so I knew what luminous effect I wanted from the subject and I knew how to create that special glow in oil paint without further prep work.

Working from back to front, I started by brushing in the background, but also did the immediate foreground of the table to establish the surface. At this stage I was still figuring on depicting the background as a readable piece of cloth draped behind everything, so I tried creating a middle value and light value.

Many times in working on a painting, the painting itself dictates to me how long a painting session lasts. Since there was some detailed type and label work to come, my time on this step saw me finishing up the first stage of background and that was it.



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