I use many different media in my paintings to help me create a mood in a painting and add emphasis to the design quality of the artwork. I use the soft velvety lusciousness of pastels to give me lovely skin tones. Fabric, Braid or lace may be added and painted to add weave and dimension. Sometimes small chains, keys, cotton yarn, feathers, buttons and handmade papers are used. Acrylic paint has so many mediums that can be added to it that gives one any texture or finish you want, from gritty and grainy to shiny and plump. It is a subtle mixing of various media that give my paintings a three dimensional effect.
The following painting will give you some idea of the process I follow.
On a colored mat board I placed my drawing using a red watercolor pencil. On the area where I intend to use fabric I go over my drawing with a heavier line in a dark pencil so the drawing will show through the fabric when I glue it down.
In this case I have used a fine cotton fabric which I cut out as a flat pattern piece and have then carefully glued down to the board so that there are no creases or air bubbles in the fabric.
Then I used a cern liner for the wire and glued some chain pieces to the board.
I then began to work from the top to the bottom of the painting. The headpiece and earings were painted in acrylic paint and the hair was painted with acrylic paint that had a gel medium added. This allowed the hair strokes to retain some individual form and shine. As I worked down the face with pastel I place the skin undertones first – from the lightest to the darkest and then gently blend it in with my fingers being careful not to ‘muddy’ the tones too much. The pastel was worked back into the hair and the hair painted over the pastel again.
Then I gradually added more pastel, blending as I go to saturate the ‘tooth’ in the paper. Finally, I put the ‘bloom’ on the skin. Usually I use a pastel or charcoal pencil in a lighter tone than the skin that mimics the light reflected from the skin tone. In this case it was a pale cerulean and a pale mauve, which I applied in a sideways motion and then carefully patted in with my fingers.
This photo shows the pastels I used.
Now I start painting the beads!! At first I just block in the color and the direction. I use a small round brush, acrylic paint with texture medium added, and paint the colors in with a series of dots. Then I shade around the dots with a watered down brown umber using a liner brush. Each bead will probably be painted at least 3 times – once with the mid tone; once with a darker tone and once with a highlight. It really depends on the size of the beads as to how many tones are added, for example, some larger beads as in ‘Samburu Beauty 2’ and ‘Little Gem’ have a reflective glow.
This photo shows my palette for acrylic paints. I use a plastic sealable storage container. I have a thin piece of foam which can be kept moist, on the bottom. Then I place a doubled over piece of baking paper over this on which I mix my paints. The paints will stay workable for a long period if you give the paints a light spray with water from time to time and make sure to put the lid on the container when not painting
Then I cut out some disc shapes from thick acid free paper, glued them to the bottom of the chains and painted them. Finally I shaded the whole series of beads and neckpiece to make it look 3 dimensional.
Finally, I painted over the plain fabric I had glued down. Initially, I just blocked in the colors and when this was dry I formed the drape by glazing in some shadows and dry brushing in the lighter areas.