The Joy of Experimenting – a Portrait Layer by Layer

The Joy of Experimenting – a Portrait Layer by Layer

One portrait layer by layer

 It’s so way past my bedtime. Still, I couldn’t make myself stop and go to bed. Although I had a reluctant model (she loves being her age, but does not like to look like it), my brush and pencils did not wish to quit.  This Spirit Portrait still has quite a ways to go. However, Prudence insists on having her way.

 I’m going to show you the process of painting this Inner Spirit portrait layer by layer.

Step 1a – Sketch in watercolor pencil. Sometimes I use prismacolor pencil, or Utrecht/Blick colored pencils. However, the watercolor pencil seems to prove the most flexible and quick on canvas for the portrait work.

Layer 1b – Wet watercolor pencil on face. The time benefit of this pencil is apparent in this layer. I can wash around laying in the basic skin tone at the same time that I start defining the shapes and shadow very quickly.

Layer 2 – Watercolor Pencil. Here, with both pencil and brush in hand, I lay out the basic portrait composition, quickly.

Layer 3 – I lay on broad areas of  transparent liquid acrylic, then cover those areas with plastic wrap, while they are still wet.

Layer 4. At this point, I enter a deeper engagement with spirit. There is a lot of joy in the process of finding what/who appears with my colored pencils. Sometimes they are readily visible, other times a bit more reluctant. Always there are surprises, and those who appear for others to discover, not me. I started my art journey drawing. It is my natural go to. It feeds that part of me  that loves to do detail and define surfaces.

I also use more very thin washes of the liquid acrylics for defining large shapes and shadowed areas, as well as even more plastic wrap to reveal any additional lurkers willing to be discovered with the pencil.

At this point tonight, it is far too late to continue. Suffice it to say, that I will keep building up the portrait layer by layer until the painting says it is complete.

Note: For the final image, reference the day I finished it.

Golden Fire

Golden Fire Golden Fire

Rising up as golden fire
of spirit explodes in joyousness

Awaken oh joy
sparkle my essence

Birthing new ideas
seeds of understanding

Sprout and raise
spreckle the future








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Spiral of Life

Spiral of Life

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