Tuesday, July 31, 2012


I got some time between jobs to work on a personal piece last week and took some shots of the process. It's an oil painting on 12X18" wood panel.

The digital value sketch. I hadn't figured out how I was going to color it at this point, so the value pattern is slightly different than what I ended up going with. A red key light felt like the right direction, and it posed an interesting challenge, since it's an inherently medium-dark color at full chroma. That meant compressing the value range more than I'm used to, while avoiding crushing all the darks. That Craig Mullins study I did a few weeks ago is still paying dividends when it comes to handling that sort of thing. 

The loose drawing done over an old painting that I sanded down. I'm using reference photos of abandoned prisons, especially the Eastern State Penitentiary, and photos of myself in the pose. No, I'm not posting them. 

Normally I'd block in the whole value pattern in monochrome before going in to the actual painting, but for this one I went straight in to the figure, which I'm going to key the rest of the piece to. I'm also trying to make this efficient, since I don't have much time between jobs, and the piece is simple enough that I don't think I'll screw myself by skipping a step. I don't have a standard color palette for every painting- on this one, I'm using- Titanium White, Yellow Ochre Pale, Cadmium Red Light, Winsor Red, Quinacridone Red, Transparent Oxide Red, Dioxazine Purple, Ultramarine Blue, Phthalo Green, and Blue Black.

Painted the wall and the key light. The rock textures were a lot of fun, as rocks tend to be. The downside of skipping the value block-in earlier is that the painted area is now much darker than the surrounding area, so it's hard to properly judge whether I've made mistakes or not. At this point the red light looks more like red paint.

The painting near-finish, with the rest of the room done. As it turned out, I'd made some of the red light casting on the side walls too dark, nearly the same value as the blue of the walls in shadow. Once it was dry, I went back and painted over those areas with a lighter red, and lightened the top-planes of the broken fragments on the floor. I also dropped some glazes on the shadowed parts of the walls. The final is the first image in this post. 


  1. Fantastic painting mate!
    And thanks for showing the different stages.
    Love it!