Sunday, April 6, 2008

ACEO portrait demo step-by-step

It's been a while since I posted a demo, so I thought it would be fun to show the step-by-step process of painting a very small portrait in ACEO size.

step 1 - sketch out a light map of the important features (I go over my sketching with an eraser afterwards, to lighten as much as possible and remove any smudges)

step 2 - I applied masking fluid sparingly to a few places - a couple strands of hair, the highlights on her eyes, and a little bit of highlight on the nose. Then I mixed a very pale wash of yellow ochre and quinacridone rose. I wet the paper first, applied the wash over the entire face and then added more ochre to the hair.step 3 - working wet-in-wet, I added less water to the same mix and "shaped" the features a little with color. I added pure quinacridone rose to the lips, wet-in-wet.
step 4 - time to start on the eyes. The subject's eyes are a hazel mixture, so I began with yellow ochre and let that dry. I mixed a little burnt sienna with cerulean blue to lightly define the brows. I then deepened the shadow on the left side of her face with more of the yellow-rose mix, adding a bit more yellow for warmth.

step 5 - after allowing everything to dry (which doesn't take long in this size format) - I started to add more details. I added cerulean blue to the eyes, burnt sienna to the side of the nose, and blended with water. To achieve a nice softness to the edges of the mouth, I like to put a dab of water at either side of the mouth and then apply paint out from the center. I added a little mix of burnt sienna and ultramarine blue to the creases of the lips and the shadow beneath.
step 6 - remove all masking fluid and see what we're left with. The eyes look good - I like the highlight. I added a little cerulean blue to the "whites" of the eyes (which are rarely white) and then began the process of adding final details such as lashes, deeper pink shadows blended with burnt sienna and ultramarine, and defining the brows. I don't like the hair, so I made an ash-yellow mix and brushed it all over then added some alizarin crimson, ultramarine, burnt sienna and cerulean wet-in-wet. I may go back later and "lift out" some color with a brush, but for now I'm finished. I'll prop it up and look at it a few times before I decide if it's finished or not. The final result is at the top of this post.

Hope you enjoyed this!


katelynjane said...

Awesome! I love seeing the artists process. Amazing painting too, like always!

Christy DeKoning said...

thank you katelyn :-) I enjoy stepping back and taking photos of each step, but sometimes I get carried away painting and forget to stop!

LizzyT said...

You have a great talent, that painting is beautiful :)

Marsha Robinett said...

Well done...I do a small amount of watercolor and always enjoy seeing a good WIP. I've posted a link to this in the "Notable Links" section of my side bar. I think others will enjoy and learn from this also. Great post.

Lorri said...

Oh Wow, I am in awe - there is no way I could do that!!
Your portrait is amazing - so real, I love it.

twiddlestix said...

Christy- wow what a talent you have! I loved seeing this process too. It's such a beautiful painting!