Thursday, October 8, 2015 in progress......and especially for jane

i started a small (11"X15") exploratory painting using the photos with ashley as inspiration. it started out really as not much more than a sketch with a fairly quick drawing and palette choices. i often do this when approaching a new series of paintings. as i said in my facebook page, these early works with their raw, unfinished look often are more compelling than the later "real" paintings.

this brings me to a random thought about painting in general. we often hear the "advice" that we shouldn't stew over choices in (watercolor) painting as it's, "only paper." while this is true and they're not life or death decisions, they are make or break decisions with regard to that particular painting. many look at this "only paper" admonition as a license to go forward without much thought at all. i think this is a mistake. while it shouldn't paralyze the painter, each painting should be approached with the notion that one is going to attempt to paint one's best work to date. if it doesn't turn out that way, one shouldn't lament for too long. after all, the afterthought is that it's "only paper", not the mind set going in.

enough of that.

"it just suits her" (11"X15", wip)
after the drawing on 300# hot press arches (yes, i am back to the old stand-by....for me it just has no equal for these portrait/figure paintings) paper, i flooded all but the white shirt and parts of the background with a variegated high value wash of scarlet lake, brilliant orange, manganese blue, and raw sienna using a large squirrel quill mop brush. when this had completely dried i started on the large shadow under the hat brim, on her forehead, and beginning of her hair with the same colors with the addition of burnt sienna and ultramarine blue to the palette. this phase and all subsequent steps were painted with an escoda #14 versatil round brush. her left hand was modeled the same way. i started the background by trying to give it an underlying glow with a loose mixture of raw sienna, quinacridone gold, and carr yellow(cheap joe's american journey pigment named after the plein aire landscape painter betty carr).

that's it for the day.


  1. Thank you Bob :-)) This is a wow scene, you really nailed her . Love that luminous smile , and even though this is only the beginning you can see it is another top piece of yours.

  2. thanks, jane. thought you'd like the hat.........