16 x 20
Oil on Raymar Panel
I recently posted this little ballerina adjusting her straps before a performance. While going over my notes I realized I had taken pictures of each stage of my painting process. I don't paint all my paintings this way but I would say a majority of them begin very similarly.
Here I picked out the support that I thought would best suit the composition. I knew I wanted the arms, body and part of the legs to be in the painting. I blocked in the approximate composition for placement purposes. I couldn't resist putting some darks and lights on the arms and that wonderful shadow on her back indicating the shoulder blade.
I wanted to play with the tutu next. I blocked in the darks and lights here. I tried to mix a color of paint...then lay it down and leave it. I am just indicating folds.
The hair block in was next. Again, I just concentrated on laying down color and leaving it. No blending or noodling with the paint. Strong, bold brush strokes. Notice on my final version of this painting the hair is exactly as it is now. I didn't touch it after my block in of lights and darks.
While working on each section I have been revisiting the arms and making sure they are placed properly and the hands tugging on the straps of her tutu. I lightly indicated the legs here. My decision was...should I try to make the tights fit her legs properly...or make them oversized and a bit wrinkled. The challenge is to make them interesting without making them a focal point.
You can see I decided to go with slightly wrinkled tights. I adjusted the hands some more and made sure the straps were raised to emphasize the adjustment. I wanted the background to be subtle so I use a complimentary gray/green. I also added a bit more detail to the dress.