Pigtail gurl – finished

I don’t think this is really going to be called Pigtail Gurl but for now that’s what I call it.

Phew, the session where I finished this painting was stressful, as it often can be…I am usually wanting to keep messing with the painting but I have to draw the line somewhere so I can work on something new. On this one, I thought I was done many times and looked again from a different angle or in different lighting and noticed something that “needed” to be changed. I wanted to make sure I got everything while the paint was wet and I had all the right colors mixed up…sometimes I find it tough to re-match what colors I’ve put down already…I keep notes on each painting for this reason, like did I use black or umber to darken that red? Argh! 🙂 It’s also tough once a painting has dried to go back, I had to “re-wet”, i.e. paint over again, a lot so that there were not hard edges and to blend stuff in.

Here’s the finished Pigtail-Gurl-until-I-think-of-a-better-name. It’s 8×10 inches, oil on canvas:

Pigtail Gurl oil painting

Pigtail Gurl oil painting

Since I am still learning, and get excited and start too soon without enough planning as well, I tend to make huge changes to my paintings mid-way through…on this one, the major change was altering the background color which was blue before. It made a huge difference and instantly the whole thing looked way better once I altered the color to more of a raw-umber tone. Some problems arose though…the original was tough to cover up and it took a few layers (with days in between to dry). Since the hair and necklace and other things that touch the background were dry, I also had to deal with attempting to keep the edges soft…that involved repainting over the dry edges a bit so I could blend wet-into-wet. I also just used a color halfway inbetween the two in some places to give a softer look.

The lips and mouth took many tries and repainting to get the way I wanted them. I tried the highlights on the lips many times by waiting for the lower lip to dry, then adding titanium white…couldn’t get it to look good until I did wet-into-wet very carefully with a very small shader brush, squinting my eyes a bit to see the overall tone and looking at a bunch of reference photos, which I didn’t end up following 🙂

I thought I was done and was comparing the new painting to the last photo I posted here and realized her expression had changed…it’s amazing how the tiniest alteration in the corner of the mouth completely changes the expression…she was now smiling and looked a lot more “normal”. I felt like the whole painting had changed…it was no longer as interesting to me. I went back and messed with the corners of the mouth for a while until she again had that odd blank kind of half-smile.

I had originally planned this to fit in a faux-gilded oval frame, but I didn’t like the fake-looking gold color, it was too orange-y and looked fake and cheep (it kinda was :)). I painted over the frame in titanium white acrylic several times to totally cover the fake gold color, now I think it looks much better…very ornate white-on-white is neat and I think it fits this painting pretty well. Now on to the next project I want to finish…Cracky-Chan.

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