City Rach: #1

So… on to the first attempt at a final draft.

Here’s the recipe I had in my head at the beginning:

  1. Mask figure highlights
  2. Paint sky in a light, flat wash.
  3. Paint the window frame. Warm with a drop of cool in the upper left corners.
  4. Paint the wall cool up top, cool down the left side of the window, warmer under the window, warmest near the figure.
  5. Paint the right hand curtains in a medium value cool wash. Then darken value of the same color to paint at the top of the curtain, and paint the figure, blending the figure into the curtain.
  6. Dab a drop of dark red at the small of the back and let it do whatever it does.
  7. Paint the left-hand curtain with a med-dark value cool tone near the window, gradually increasing the value until the deepest value at the left edge of the painting. That value comes down and makes the floor as well.
  8. Lift highlights in the curtains with a clean synthetic brush.
  9. Paint a few tiny details (window locks, thin lines in the frame, shadows in the curtain) in dark-valued cool colors.

I wonder if that’s actually how this will play out, so I’m going to post at each step.

1. Sketch & Masking

First I sketched the image on the paper, then masked off the highlights. I used a ruler to get very straight lines. I’m thinking about trying to paint this with a series of crisp straight lines, as well as a handful of blurred lost edges… we’ll see how it goes.

Oh, and for masking, I use this little bottle. I bought it for $1 and bought a screw cap for fifty cents. I fill the small bottle with masking fluid, and I can place it in pretty fine lines – though I do have to spend about five minutes cleaning the nozzle each time. When I’m done, I stick a needle in the metal tip to “close” it.

That metal cap has the needle in it now. I screw that onto the plastic tip when I’m ready.

While I’m at it – here’s how I keep my brushes… it’s an old soup can full of coffee beans. Works great.

2. Sky

I was going to paint the sky in a simple flat wash, but at the larger scale, it feels very bare. So I lifted some clouds with a clean brush. I want this to remain very light in value, but wanted to add a bit of detail to it.

3 & 4. Paint the Window Frame and wall

I planned to paint the frame, then the wall. But, in reality I painted the wall, then the frame. This is because I could paint the wall while the sky dried.

I’m happy with it right now – though I’ll see when the masking fluid comes off. I need to fix the top – it should be darker.

5, 6, 7, & 8 Whoa…

Ok, I darkened the top of the window frame, and then started on Rachel’s head. I tried to paint her head in a single stroke, but I used a brush that was too small, so I had to finagle with it a bit more than I wanted. Then, I warmed that color, and painted the back of the hood. I wanted that to bleed into the head, so I had to paint it quickly. I wanted the shirt to bleed into the pants and the curtains, so those needed to be painted quickly as well so it could all be done wet in wet. I also wanted the pants to bleed into the floor, which needed to bleed into the curtains on the left… so I once I started on the hair, I had to paint everything pretty quickly. I didn’t anticipate this, and had a tough time keeping the large washes wet as I went, but in the end I think I was able to paint the shapes I needed, and got the lost edges I was after. I didn’t get the lost edges I wanted where Rachel’s back met the curtains, but it’s too late to fix it.

I then dropped some creamy aquamarine turquoise near the windows, and creamy Quinacridone purple on the curtains opposite the windows. Right now, I’m waiting for that to dry – and I’m crossing my fingers hoping it doesn’t go to shit while it dries and the pigments blend and feather. This is the hard part.

Now that I look at it, the wall and frame should be a darker tone to help separate it from the sky outside… again – too late.

Tomorrow morning, I’ll take off the masking fluid, and add the “jewelry”.

9. Jewelry

This is what it looked like the next morning with the masking fluid removed

After it dried, I removed the masking fluid and used a very creamy dark value to quickly draw the window locks.

Then, I used creamy aquamarine turquoise to deepen values on the curtains and add some texture with ragged brush strokes.

Then, I used a reddish purple to glaze her shirt.

Then, I finished by glazing the wall with some earth tones, warmer on the right, cooler on the left. I let these wash into the floor to help create some lost edges.

Then I finished by adding shadow to the floor for added perspective.

Here’s the final result:

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