Brave Girl – Step by Step Mixed Media Painting

Every time I start a new painting, I always try to photograph each step so I can share the process on my blog. But  of course, I always get carried away and forget to take pics at some point. Not this time. I was actually able to document the entire process, finally! I thought it would be fun to share whatever tips and tricks I have to offer, hope you guys enjoy it.

I’ve had this oval canvas stashed away somewhere for a few years with an unfinished horse that I realized was never going to get anywhere. I covered it with black gesso and some crackle medium, but I guess the medium was old and the chemicals broke down since not much happened when I sponged a layer of antique white acrylic paint. Oh, well, c’est la vie, I just went over it with some acrylic burnt umber and a little Goldend titan buff.

Next I used a variety of background stamps with Timber Brown Stazon ink to create some texture followed by some layers of thinned acrylic paint over punchinella, chicken wire and shelf liner, as well as a variety of Crafter’s Workshop masks with Adirondack Color Wash. Last I added some Adirondack Alcohol Inks to create some fun drippings, I love that!
Time to sketch my girl. Because of all the many different layers of paints and inks, I find that the only pencil that will go over it to my satisfaction is my trusty Stabilo Aquarellable White Pencil. In my experience, it works better than charcoal, any brand of colored pencils or pastel. If the background was light colored, I would use my other favorite pencil to sketch directly on the prepared background, a Faber-Castell Pitt Oil Base pencil, extra soft.

I always like to start by painting the skin tones. I began by applying a layer of white gesso over the head and neck, and once the gesso was dried, I sketched her facial features with the Pitt Oil based pencil followed by a combination of Shiva Paintsticks and Winsor and Newton oil paints. For the skin colors I used  Antique White, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, Raw Umber and Alizarim Crinson. I started with a generous amount of Antique White and smoothed it all over the face and neck, using my favorite blending tool, my fingers, and for small areas, a small soft nylon brush or a cotton swab. I then dabbed Yellow Ochre and Burnt Sienna to create a caucasian skin color. Burnt Umber, followed by Raw Umber, applied in the same manner created the shading, and Alizarim Crimson gave her nice rosy cheeks. Because all of these colors are fairly opaque, I had to re-sketch everything several times during the process of blending the colors or else I would completely loose the lines. Since the pencil is oil based, it can go directly over the still wet oil paints. I used the pencil properties to my advantage by smudging it where I wanted very dark shadows.

For the eyes, lips and hair, I used Winsor and Newton Oil paints, Venetian Red, Viridian, Raw Umber, Vandycke Brown as well as Gamblin Radiant Red. I used a little turps with a few drops of linseed oil to thin down the colors, and applied them with a small soft nylon brush.

On her wings, blouse and skirt, I used Golden Fluid Acrylics. Since I really liked the way the background around those areas looked, I chose my most transparent colors to paint the outfit, Green Gold and Quinacridone Burnt Orange, followed by a quick wiping with a rag to remove most of it, leaving just a hint of those hues over the background colors. For the wings, I used my favorite gold color, Golden Iridescent Gold Deep (fine).

I started adding some details to her wings and blouse by using rub-ons, embellishments, stamps, white gel pen and my favorite “go over everything” black pen, a Pilot Permaball, an amazing tool, but discontinued, unfortunately. I also worked some more on her face, by adding more layers of oils to deepen the colors. Using a very fine liner brush and Holbein Quick Drying White, I added the highlights to her eyes and lips and some to the bridge of her nose, chin and cheeks, right below her eyes. Next, I used Derivan Permanent Liquid Pencil in sepia to add shading around the girl, to separate the wings and to create some form on her blouse and skirt.

Once the oils were completely dried, in this case it took about 72 hours, I added some more shading on her hair with Holbein oil pastels and the Pitt Oil pencil. I used Golden extra heavy gel medium to adhere the flower to her hair and the trim to her waist. I used black Stazon ink to stamp the words to her blouse and Shiva Paintsticks over stencils to add the dragonfly and butterflies to the background.

I finished this piece by rubbing a little Burnt Umber oil paint on the sides and spraying with several thin coats of Golden acrylic satin varnish. I hope you have enjoyed seeing my process. I call her “Brave Girl” and she was done on a 12″X16″ oval stretched canvas.

Have a wonderful week!

Hugs,
Jade

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