Begun in May 2018 this portrait of my friend and model Elodie Bouffard is a 50cm x 40cm oil on wood panel painting. I started by preparing a wooden panel with six coats of home made chalk gesso. I lightly sanded the layers of gesso after each coat and arrived at a smooth painting surface equal to painting fine details. Before painting the next stage, the grisaille, I painted the surface with vandyke brown, with some added ‘misty’ effects in green.
The next stage was to paint a grisaille from photographs, I’m quite good at drawing in various mediums but nevertheless, I transferred the photo onto the support to save time.
When photographs are available, it is a waste of time to hand draw your image onto the support, just a few general outlines will do to get the exact proportions, after all we ‘draw’ with the brushes. The grisaille was completed in three sessions, refining exact details of the eyes for instance that I new I wouldn’t want to change later, after adding layers of transparent and opaque colour.
In the grisaille, I use titanium white, as it is less transparent and less oily than my favourite lead white. At this stage I want maximum coverage over the dark brown panel
I then went on to use full colour, using a limited palette with lead white at its centre. I usually work on several paintings at a time, so this allows me time to reflect on what I’ve done and reflect on how the painting is progressing, after several months it was finished, all that remains to do – is a varnish coat.