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Thursday, 25 July 2013

A Loving Glance

I have done step by step posts before, but a friend from Facebook asked if I would show the process for this piece, so lots of pics and (I hope) simple guide to my technique :D
"A Loving Glance"
9 x 12 stretch canvas

When I start a new piece I always make brief notes about colours, orientation(portrait or landscape) and positioning of the figures...

The first layer I apply is usually pieces of ripped and torn colour paper, applied to the canvas with matt medium and smoothed to remove any air bubbles( I used a broad palette knife, but an old credit/store card is just as good) . I try to find paper with some of the colours I am planning for the finished piece, to get my mind focussed.
I usually leave the paper layer to dry for 24 hours before continuing to be sure it is all bonded properly.

Next layer is random colours added through stencils. This will add more depth and texture to the final piece without adding "bulk".

Again I leave it to dry, as this gives the canvas time to rest and tighten.
On this piece I added a second layer of paper, but this time I used coloured tissue paper. This becomes very translucent when wet by the medium and acts to "blend" and "bind" all the randomness of the previous layers. It also gives a fabulous crinkly finish to the canvas.
 Again it is necessary to leave the tissue to dry thoroughly as it is very delicate and will scrape off if damp.

Now I add my figures, using a soft pencil. If the background is quite dark I use a white Stabilo Marks All pencil, but for this piece plain old graphite worked fine.
 Once I am happy with the shapes I seal the lines with more medium and a small brush.
Now I "soften" the background by wiping on a very thin layer of white gesso. This has the effect of making the figures look translucent and adding more depth to the picture. 
 Now I reintroduce splashes of random colour back into the background with a palette knife, before adding layers of thin glaze. I mix small amounts of acrylic paint (in this case Deep Purple) with glazing medium....

and for the figures Veridian green and Light green.

When the glaze is dry, I use a small (seriously damaged) dry brush to add Raw Umber(brown) around the outlines, smudging outward to give a shadowy effect. This is another technique to add depth. 

Then a VERY tiny amount of black, softly added to the outline for better definition. These dark lines are added very slowly and by building up with minute amounts, the idea being to keep the lines as soft as possible. I don't want them to be too obvious and distract from the colours.

The final layer of colour is a "hint" of white on the figures to give the effect of light reflecting off the "faces", and then I rub in thin layers of Gold metallic acrylic paint with my fingers...just skimming over the surface to add shimmer. Too much would obliterate the detail coming through the glaze layers.

Tilted image to show how the definition changes depending on the angle at which the light hits the metallic layer.

After drying for a few days I will add a couple of layers of satin finish varnish, as dust will cling to acrylic paint if it isn't behind glass
Hope this has been helpful to those who asked :D XXX


  1. wow,no wonder I love these so much. I am all about the layers, totally in love with them more now. I might have to do something in your bubble style.

  2. Can't wait to see what you do, you always come up with the most amazing projects :D

  3. Oh Gina thank you for sharing the step by steps - absolutely fantastic!

  4. I love that look ;) Thanks for the step of these days I'll get some spare time to give it a go !
    xoxo Sioux

  5. Wonderful piece Gina...I love that there is so much room for imagination and all the shimmer that surrounded them ♥ Conny

  6. Wow Gina!! Truly amazing! So much work! A very beautiful piece!
    (I got your e-mail! Will write back soon! Doing my happy dance! Yepeeee!)

  7. wonderful piece,i love the shining figures in your beautiful backruond,love your style and your work.

    greetings jeannette