Christmas Angel painting – work in progress

I started this painting a couple weeks ago, it will be a Christmas gift and is a gently smiling angel looking downwards, with big wings stretching up on the sides and a bejeweled golden crown on her head. So far I have completed a good portion of the underpainting, which I am doing in raw umber and titanium white:

Christmas Angel painting work in progress

Christmas Angel painting work in progress

Update 12-21-08: Underpainting done I think, and started on the hair and crown:

Christmas Angel work in progress 12-21-08

Christmas Angel work in progress 12-21-08

After the underpainting is done and dry enough, I will try glazing thin layers of transparent color over it. The hair, background, and gold crown will be direct painting with no underpainting. I have met with limited success glazing previously, so I am working hard to ensure this will be successful after all the time spent drawing and on the underpainting. I’m keeping the paint as smooth and flat as possible and making it lighter than the intended result since the glazing will darken it.

It’s really nice to work in monochrome in order to just focus on the tone and such and not have to worry about color yet! It’s not likely this will be done by Christmas but I should be fairly close if all goes as planned.

I like how this one is going so far, it’s oil on 8×10 inch Gessobord panel and the texture is nice, like an eggshell…much better than the other panel I have used that was way too smooth so paint barely adhered. This is much more toothy and kind of absorbent and so far all the painting I have done has just been feeling right, much better than past projects like my Cracky-Chan one where I was fighting the painting most of the time. The Gessobord, keeping the paint smooth, painting in just one color, and waiting until dry enough before additions are primary reasons for that I think. Going over semi-dried oil paint, especially if the under layers are rather thick, tends to cause major frustration and poor results from what I have seen. If needed I will try scraping this smooth with a razor blade (rounded edges, filed down), so the glazing does not build up or pool over uneven areas…although on the fabric that could be a desirable effect!

Oh, FYI the reason the background is yellowish is I transferred the drawing onto the panel with graphite paper, went over it in sepia ink, then did an imprimatura wash with ivory black and yellow ochre light. Once that dried I started the raw umber part.