Saturday, October 5, 2013


Here is my new painting, a self portrait of me playing my oud to my dogs.

Here are the notes I've taken while painting it:

For session one, I started on the under-painting. I've been taught to always paint the most important things first, so I started with the face, and moved to the dogs. I used a mixture of transparent oxide brown cut with half again as much ultramarine blue. I wanted a neutral middle pigment balanced slightly toward warm.

For session two, I spent a lot of time working on the face. I broke my rule of using only transparents for the under-painting and broke out some whites. After the face, I did the chair and some shadows. I used subtle mixes of transparent oxide brown, ultramarine blue, and terra rosa to add nuances of warm and cool.

For session three, I worked on the oud, the wall, the floor, and added some color to the flesh tones. I tried something that I had not really done before. With transparent paint, sometimes it is hard to get a smooth tone. It can be rough, uneven, and sometimes gritty. I tried to mix some transparent white with my pigments where I did not want that unevenness. Transparent white is only semitransparent. It has some qualities of opaque paint but still lets what's underneath through. It was moderately successful.

Session four: I darkened up the overall painting with some glazes. I also did the rug. Finally, I added some strings to the oud. I did this by using a palette knife loaded with paint. I think the under-painting is done.

Session six, I did the dogs. In particular, the black dog, Murry, was painted witha mixture of transparent oxide red, alizarin crimson, and ultramarine blue as a mixed up black. The result was so black, though, that I had to add some to the darks in the rest of the painting so the dog did not stick out like a sore thumb.

Session seven, I worked on the back wall and the floor. I thought I was done, but now I notice a spot on the oud that needs some work. I'm going to sit on it a few days too and see if I see anything else.

Here are links showing the progress over time:

Session 1
Session 2
Session 3
Session 4
Session 5
Session 6
Session 7