The making of - enchantress
Anyone who knows me knows that I have a fascination with anything fantasy related, from mythical creatures and magic to witches and warlocks, It's something I've always loved and for that reason I wanted to add a piece to my show that represented that in my style of painting.
So I pulled a canvas out of my canvas closet (which at this point was packed and I actually almost fell into it when trying to reach over to grab the one I wanted) and the one I choose was a size that I hadn't used before because I just felt it fit with what I wanted to do.
I set the canvas down on my work table and gently sanded it a bit to get some of the gesso off for a smoother finish, picked up a graphite pencil and started on the drawing. I usually always start with the face and eyes because to me they are what captures a persons attention the most so I always try to get those down first and then the rest of the figure.
Now that I had her down I pulled out a can of my best friend mister hair spray and gave her a thin coat so that the graphite wouldn't smudge and mix with the paint.
Whenever I paint with acrylics I always start off with a blue under painting. I normally use ultramarine blue in different intensities to set down all of the shadows in the piece. I start by filing in the darkest areas with pure ultramarine blue (BTW I love the name of this colour it sounds like a superhero or something LOL) and then thin it out with flow improver for the lighter areas. I use brushes for laying down the colours but then always smudge the paint with my fingers just because I find I get a really good transition from one tone to another.the highlights I always leave unpainted or sometimes a really light tone of blue.
Next I pulled out some liquid acrylics and mixed paynes grey and black and a lot of water to make the colour for her cape and hat.
I laid down the watery paint all over her cape and hat and while it was still wet sprinkled coarse salt over it to get that faded effect. In some places I added a more concentrated version of the paint to get the darker areas and added some of the watered down paint over the areas with salt to get a deeper speckled effect (I know sounds delicious)
Now I'm at the point where I can lay down the first layer of skin tone, I always keep an air tight jar with a large amount of skin tone pre mixed which I use as my base tone and then add different colours to it to get different skin tones for each piece.
I paint over every part of her skin with this base (yup, right over the blue) so that you can see the blue through the new layer of paint but a more faded version of it. I've found that this really helps give depth and more realism to the skin.
While thats drying, I start working on her lips, now here I had my first argument with myself (which I do a lot) because I wasn't sure if to go with a dark red, blue, turquoise or black and after a long debate I finally agreed with myself to go with dark red.
I used a dark red and a mixture of purple and paynes grey for the darker parts of her lips.
I add another layer of skin tone all over her skin and move on to the eyes and make them a light turquoise colour. This is just the base coat for her eyes and now at this stage she finally starts looking like a person and not a zombie suffering from severe hyperthermia.
This is when I got into the second fight with myself, I couldn't decide on the colour of the hair, I was between blues, violets, greenish aquas and reds. so after a near fist fight between myself and I, we decided to go with the aqua tones.
This part was a lot of fun, I laid down the first coat of aqua and then made different mixtures of the same tone, I picked up my fan brush and started to add in all of the different colour strands of hair and at that point she really starts to come alive and out of the canvas, I start to breath a little easier because its working out the way I had hoped (although part of me is still cursing at myself in the background for not having gone with violet hair, he's a real asshole sometimes) and I can now continue on with her face and hands.
I mix some of the base skin tone with burnt umber and burnt sienna and start darkening the shadow on her face, hands and neck, then I add in a lighter skin tone for some of the highlight parts and blend everything together using a dry brush technique (this really destroys your brushes!!)
I add some highlights to her eyes, do up her eye makeup, paint her nails and add a touch of magenta to her cheeks (cause a girls gotta look good)
Now I can start on the crystal ball and for that I used watered down liquid acrylics and let them mix on the canvas on their own and then some coarse salt while it was still wet for that speckled look.
So now that she's got her hair did, her makeup on and is ready to rock!!, it's time for me to sleep so I can start out on her background the next day, which is one of my favourite parts of any painting.
The next day I start off by using a blending medium all over the canvas and then took out different shades of blue and green and just blended them all directly on the canvas, working them in and blending them as I went along the entire piece.
once that was dry I used watered down liquid acrylics for the drip effects and coarse salt in some areas to make everything fit together.
Now comes the fun part of having to rub off all of the salt, which isn't really all that fun because it can take forever and I'm really impatient and you always have a few stubborn pieces that just won't let go, so after lots of rubbing and scratching I finally have her all cleaned up and ready for the last touches.
Adding the white highlights is one of my favourite parts because it really makes things pop, especially when it comes to the eyes, so I add the sparkle to her eyes, the highlights on the crystal ball, a little bit of highlights on her nose, lips and cheeks and then finally I add some drips of colour running down her hands, through her fingers and down her cape.
Below is the finished piece
Medium: Acrylic on canvas
Hope you like it :)