March 30, 2012
I thought it would be fun to reveal the two characters in my new painting with before and after shots – to show how my painting progressed. A few blog posts back, I already showed the face of a lion as the masked man in this painting from my Of Myth and Men series. So here is the before picture:
After a few layers of paint, the lion seemed to change and age a bit. He started off looking like a young lion, but I think the expression on his face changed as I worked on it. The face matured, and there’s something in the look in its eyes that is different. A bit heavier…? Perhaps not so bright eyed. Through several layers of paint, the lion’s character was revealed.
Actually, looking at the two pictures now, I think perhaps it’s is the eyelashes that changed the expression on his face to give him a bit more of a calmness. And the fur on the muzzle is a bit beard-like and thicker, perhaps giving him a bit of a more mature look. I’m always surprised by the faces of both the animals and people in this series of paintings, as they come to life on their own, as I don’t have an exact plan of what they will look like. They reveal themselves to me slowly, as I paint, and I’m always pleasantly surprised with the end results, when I know that the characters that were meant to be have emerged from my painting.
The second character was only introduced to you in a past blog post as a flash of red hair. So here is a glimpe of her before the fiery hair was added:
I start off with a layer of thinned paint, to block in colours and form a base that I will add to. The thing that I love about oil painting is the translucence of the medium, as building up layers of colour that allow the colours below to shine through give the paintings that much more depth and life. Often times, because of the layering of different flat patterns and rendered areas, the hair is the last thing I will paint. So I knew I was finished when I painted that last wisp of red hair flying in the sky.
Painting hair is actually a really great way for me to finish off my pieces, as I usually start with the background, which is loosely painted, and then move onto the faces, which are very small and detailed, followed by the patterns, which are strict with the graphic lines and flat colours. To finish off on the hair, which more often than not in this series has been curly or a little bit wild, is actually really fun!
And yes…the title of this blog post is also another hint about this painting, as well as a great Morrissey song!