Nap Time — In Progress

Okay, so I’m on to something new. This is a large painting, one of the largest I’ve done. It’s 24″ x 30″, and so far, I’m enjoying the size for the clarity of detail and features that can be attained. This is almost life size. Since this isn’t a daily painting, I thought I’d post some in-progress shots.

So this morning, I thought I’d work on my painting while the baby napped…isn’t she beautiful when she’s sleeping? I started to get ready, ate some breakfast, kicked my husband and son out of the house (well not really, they went willingly) and prepared my self mentally to start painting, when, of course, she woke up. No painting during the daylight hours again today. I heaved a big sigh and collected her from her room. We had a bit of a snuggle together, and she left my lap to go and play. Now, I do a pretty good job of baby-proofing, but something always seems to show up when I least expect it. This time it was a pin-cushion…missing the pins.
Oh My God! Where did she find that and where are the pins. I found one soon enough, sticking out of my foot! I pulled it out and blood squirted all over the carpet. As I’m trying to clean up the blood, I notice that Rhiannon is being uncharacteristically quiet, so I limp over to where I thought she was admiring her portrait, only to find that she is adding her own artistic touch with a blue wax crayon. I hope that oil paint sticks to wax! You can see her beautiful scribbles at the top of the painting, from one side to the other.

Anyways…About the painting…I learned my lesson with the last painting, and this time I did some planning. After taking the reference photo, I cropped it to get the best composition that I could and did some thumbnail sketches. Then, using a wonderful program that is a free download, called “Oil Painting Assistant”, I gridded the reference photo and printed it, and then, using the same ratio, I gridded my canvas. On smaller paintings, I usually don’t do this, I just rely on my eye, but on something this large, it’s easy to really screw up proportions.

I lightly sketched the image onto the canvas with a #2 pencil, leaving out unnecessary details,and then re-enforced my pencil lines with a mix of burnt umber and hooker green. Next, I used a mix of hunter green, burnt sienna, cad yellow med. and white and I laid in a very fine wash of the local blanket color. I kind of use it as an underpainting to fill in the white of the canvas. I do the same with the skin tone, burnt sienna, cad yellow med., aliz crimson, ultramarine blue and titanium white, and the hair, for which I use a mix of the skin tone, with a bit of burnt umber, I think. Then I start to work in some of the major dark areas, and wipe out some of the lightest areas. I put in a bit of red on the lips, ears, nose and fingers, where the blood is close to the skin. All of this is basically an on-canvas value study that will later be covered with thick paint. It helps me see the beginning of the painting as a whole, and determine if I need to make any major changes in value, composition, etc…I know, this is a step that should be done as a thumbnail, and I did do some, but I find that it is not always successful. The last painting I started looked great as a value study, looked great as a thumbnail, even looked great as a 12 x 12 painting, but when I transferred it onto a bigger canvas, it was just plain boring. The large format didn’t do it justice at all, so I wiped it off and started this one.

Well, now on to laying in the real thing. I’ll try to post an in progress picture tomorrow.

Published by Tahirih Goffic

After a tumultuous past as a goat milker, laundress, fine art major, waitress and restaurant owner, I've now downscaled to running my own Cafe/Gallery in an effort to maintain a social life and make a few bucks. I live a ridiculously idyllic existence in a fairytale village called Bella Coola on the West Coast of British Columbia with my charming musician husband, two amazingly creative children, and a dog whose favourite past time is eating rotten dead fish and rolling in poo. In my not so spare time I love to invent healthy whole food recipes, write YA fiction, play guitar, or curl up in my favourite chair with a great book and a gigantic mug of strong black coffee, all while daydreaming of living in Ireland...

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