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Every painting holds its own joys and challenges, bits that have worked beautifully and areas that have had to be worked on a few times over. Especially with portraits. Teeth and eyes are challenging. Get these wrong and your whole painting, no matter how well executed, will not look right.
So, with my last 3 paintings being life portraits, I thought a still life would make a nice change. A bit of freedom, bright colour and no teeth!
I had the perfect photo that I took during the summer, when we had piles of glorious, sweet stone fruit in bowls, ready to munch on. ‘Peaches with Pottery’. The pottery was my Grandmothers, so it holds a few heart strings.
For a change, instead of just posting the finished product, I thought I would post a photo from the different stages that make up a painting. I’ve been posting these on Facebook, but for those of you who don’t use Facebook, I thought I better share on the blog too! Fair’s fair!
So here we go…

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First stage involves a pencil drawing on a triple gessoed canvas. Over this I usually put an acrylic wash of yellow ochre, just to get rid of the vast expanse of white, but I skipped this step this time.
Then the fun starts. I start blocking out my darks, lights and midtones, using a mix of raw umber oil paint thinned with solvent. Lots and lots of squinting. Get your tones right and the colour becomes much easier.

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Next step, starting with the darks, basically mixing black (made up of 3 parts red light, 1 part Viridian green, 1 part French Ultramarine Blue) mixed with burnt umber, basically black, made with 3 parts red light, 1 part Viridian green, 1 part French ultramarine blue) with a hint of colour, in this case burnt umber. The steps up till now have taken 2 sittings of a few hours each.

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Yeah colour! It’s always fun getting to the colour!

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…and for another few sessions, more colour! It’s all about playing with the colour tones…still using your darks and lights but with colour. I just mix my heart out until I get the colour close enough. It comes with practice, being able to work out what to mix to make up the perfect colour. (now count how many times I just wrote colour!)

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And finally, today’s effort…

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I’ve still got the knife to do…then guess what?
No…it’s not finished! Are you crazy? I go over it all over again. Check, check, checking tones and form and colours and texture, until it looks finished….this is the hardest part! Deciding it’s finished.
I’ll upload my next step as soon as its done.
Hope you like it do far?
X Mia

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