Landscape Self Portrait, Part 1

Here are some images from the newest painting I'm working on. It will be a landscape / self-portrait combo for lack of a better term...

First, here's one of the drawings from the preparatory phase:

14" x 17", Graphite and Cretacolor White Chalk on Strathmore 400 Paper

14" x 17", Graphite and Cretacolor White Chalk on Strathmore 400 Paper

I ended up being pretty happy with this drawing. It took 2 mirrors. No photos. For the painting I'll be using a panel primed with Natural Pigments "Lead Oil Ground" (by far my favorite thing to prime with) then tint or mix the last coat to hit Munsell Neutral Value 7. I've made photocopies of the drawing, blowing it up to the size I want for the painting in the process. I"ll then scrub Natural Pigments "Cyprus Burnt Umber Warm" on the back side of the drawing copy. I like just using straight paint with out solvent for that. This color is a reddish version of Burnt Umber and I find it's easier to work with when you over paint it later with skin tones. I let this layer dry on the copy paper for a few hours. I then taped the drawing to the fully primed and cured panel and traced over the lines of the drawing I wanted to transfer in red pen. I picked up the red pen idea on a painter's blog somewhere but for the life of me I can't remember which one! The red helps you to see where you've traced already. From here I wash-in my base colors, thinned down slightly with Spike Oil. This is also know as an Ebauche. An Ebauche serves to establish your general color notes. On this painting in particular I won't wash in any other elements. I find I like to make this 1st pass more chromatic and lower value than life then tone it down in following layers. I tend to work on all parts at once rather than taking each area to completion. I also tend to paint pretty thin so I make multiple passes and layers.

I still do my wash-in or ebauche with bristle brushes. Mostly bristle rounds lately. Got some of Rosemary & Co.'s "domed" hog bristles on order. I really enjoy using a #2 bristle round for shadow and low value areas during full color work. Bristles help me keep my washes and shadows thin as well as not too detailed. I don't use a lot of solvent after this wash-in phase.

For the most of my lay in needs I've been using, and very happy with, Rosemary & Co.'s "Ivory" line With a light touch they make a smooth mark similar to a sable or mongoose but the spring is different. They seem to wear longer than sable but clean just as easily. These synthetics are stiffer than sable or mongoose so you have to mind your pressure more than a soft natural hair. I use her Filberts, Flats, a #0 Rigger and sometimes her Egbert shape in sizes #0 and #2. To the best of my knowledge this is the only synthetic Egbert I've come across. She now makes a Long Filbert that is a length between her normal Filbert and her Egbert shapes. I look forward to trying some of these out. Seems like a perfect length for this hair type.

All that said, nothing beats Sable for most everything else. I like sizes #0, 2, 4 and 6 rounds for most things. The only other shapes I use are a medium size filbert and a small fan. I use both of those for blending and painting soft background elements. For these brushes I been using Rosemary &Co.'s "Pure Kolinsky Sable" line.

Here is the painting as it stands now...

18" x 24", Oil on Panel

18" x 24", Oil on Panel

I painted the figure first. I'm in process now of painting the surrounding environment. About 2 days into that. The major drawback with the location I found is the sun doesn't come into position till about 1pm. I've got quite a bit of work to go before this ones done.