Progress of Painting

I thought that it might be both interesting and useful to see how I completed an painting

  • Acrylic painting
  • Stretched gesso’d canvas
  • Approx 6 hours painting over 7 days
  • Reference image
  • Pencil sketch
  • Focus: contrast in skin tones

I’ve really been trying to work on my painting skills over the past couple of months. It takes a lot for me to set everything up. Plus I do a lot of preparatory sketches before even thinking about setting things up with canvas. As you can see in the first image, I did a poor job with the under-sketch by seriously shortening her chin. Usually, all the prep sketches are supposed to prevent this sort of problem.


I had two copies of the image, with slightly different contrast edits. I thought that would help me to get a better impression of depth and contrast. I’m not sure how well it worked.

Also, I corrected the chin mid-painting. I was really nervous while doing this. Stepping back and forth away from the image, I knew I couldn’t be satisfied unless I corrected the major error in the form.


Look at how she turned out! It is a face!

I continue to be dissatisfied with how her hair turned out. I think I got a bit burned out once I did the skin tones.


IMG_2908 IMG_2907

Looking at the progress over all I’m pretty happy with it. I tried to use much stronger colors, especially in the shadow. I also corrected the shortening of her chin.

I do think that I relied heavily on the background and hair to give the stronger colors. I should have done an under painting in dark blue of some of the shadows since her face is lacking in some of that deepness.

Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 6.00.20 PM

I’m slowly seeing the progress in how quickly I can work along with my ability to more easily match colors. I also realize that if I’d been working in oil, she’d be much more luminous and better blended simply due to the medium. But working with acrylics is much faster (and cheaper) for learning.

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