Angel painting completed

For other posts about this painting view the angel category where I show the dead layer underpainting and etc.

I finished my angel painting on Feb 14th. It was started in late September 2008 and was meant as a Christmas present for my ma, although I knew pretty early on it would be done rather later than Christmas.
This is 8×10 inches and is oil on panel:
Angel oil painting in frame

Angel oil painting in frame

Angel painting detail

Angel painting detail

I kept track of my painting hours and took many pages of notes on this painting. Total time just on the painting itself was about 35 hours, that should be pretty accurate since I noted each session. I did not keep track of all the initial drawing and later planning though, a rough guess is at least 8 hours spread out over weeks. So total time on this was maybe 43 hours. Wow, I think that is a long time. A lot of that is learning and sometimes doing things over, as I get better something like this could take a lot less time, for instance I wasn’t sure what to do on the wings and made several fairly major changes. I initially was glazing very thin color over them, but eventually abandoned that technique for the wings at least and put the paint on much more thickly, although the underpainting still shows through. Similar thing on the crown, so many of those hours would not have been spent if I was a bit more sure of what to do.

Dust was an issue with this, especially on the small 8×10 format and with the glazing, I tried my best to keep dust off the layers but some ended up ingrained in the painting. It’s not too distracting though and it’s only really noticeable if you are searching for it under a bright light. I always let my paintings dry leaning against something face-down to keep the dust to a minimum…keeping the painting dust-free is kind of constantly in my mind as I’m working.

Glazing the face worked out very well, when you view this painting in real life it has a warm glow to the face which I believe is the optical consequence of the light traveling through the transparent top layers and through to the opaque underpainting. Next time I will ensure the underpainting is TOTALLY done to my liking, on this one it wasn’t complete enough before I started the glazing, and I had to do a lot of corrections to the eyes and such.

Angel painting update 2

I’ve put a few layers of glazed color on my angel painting:

Angel work in progress 2

Angel work in progress 2 (oil on panel)

This is the first time I have glazed flesh tone over an underpainting and I like the way it’s working out! The above pic has 3 layers of color on it over the raw umber “dead layer”.

After the underpainting was done (although I kinda wish I had worked on it a bit longer) I took a photo and experimented in Photoshop, especially to figure out the background color, wing colors, and how it would look in the frame it will be going into with different schemes. I have been doing that sort of planning a lot lately with several new paintings…it’s absolutely invaluable! I can try anything and not have to worry about screwing up the actual painting. I have an old Wacom tablet I use for that purpose. It’s fun doing virtual glazing over the underpainting with transparent colors and works better than I would have thought :)

For the flesh tone I am using vermillion and yellow ochre over the raw umber. I am keeping all layers very thin and not rushing it. I added some yellow ochre and vermillion to the clothing shadows too. Colors used for wings and jewels are cad yellow light hue, viridian+yellow, vermillion, prussian blue, phthalo+permanent rose. Eyes are cobalt blue so far. I am just using bleached linseed oil for the medium, very thin layers, and lightly ‘oiling out’ before applying the glazes. I believe that the thinness of the layers will prevent any sort of cracking or other nasty problems. Using turps or other mediums like galkyd have yielded funky results for me, I am not using turpenoid for anything (oh except the imprimatura-ish layer) at this point, not even to clean brushes anymore…I just use bar soap after a session to see if my brushes will survive better that way. Actually they have been a lasting pretty long time nowadays anyway, they used to get thrashed really fast but that was when I was leaving them bristle-down in a tub of turps whilst painting and trying to clean them and use for other colors, ugh not a good practice! Now I keep at least one separate brush for each color and one for darker raw umber+white mix, one for lighter, etc. I end up using a boatload of brushes in a session on this angel though, like 15 brushes or something crazy this last session, since there are a lot of colors and some are used for shading and blending.

Angelic palette

A much more varied and brilliant palette than I normally use:
Palette of colors for my angel painting.

Palette of colors for my angel painting

Those are the colors with which I have been glazing my angel painting.

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.