Much like the old masters, I use a structured approach. Using multiple references images and digital image editing software, I work out my design ideas first to create a compelling composition. This allows me to focus completely on color mixing to achieve the right combination of color, value and temperature to model forms, create depth and accurately render nuances of light and shadow. Illustrated below are the progressive stages I follow from start to finish to complete an oil painting. This process typically takes me about four weeks for a large work, less for a small work.
STAGE 1. A grayscale image of the design is printed out on polyflex paper and transferred to the panel using Saral graphite paper sandwiched between it and the panel. This is the most important part of the process, taking up to 4 hours.
STAGE 2. Working from top left to bottom right, I begin the underpainting a section at a time using Quinacridone Magenta. The paint is thinned as necessary with odorless mineral spirts (OMS). No medium is used in the underpainting.
STAGE 3. Working much like a watercolor, adding and removing as necessary, the underpainting is completed and dry to the touch in two days. Except for the background only two small Filbert brushes are used to complete the entire work.
STAGE 4. I begin the overpainting using the direct method and a palette of 14 colors. Mostly dry paint mixtures are used but I also add Old Master’s Maroger Medium to some color mixtures. Each painting session dries overnight.
STAGE 5. The work continues top left to bottom right, a section at a time. Each new section is seamlessly blended into the previously painted section. There is minimal or no reworking of previously painted passages.
STAGE 6. The completed work. Edge treatments have been refined, shadows deepened and opaque highlights added as necessary. After drying outdoors in full sun when possbile for two weeks or more, the painting is ready to be varnished.