"Paintings have a life of their own that derives from the painter's soul." Vincent Van Gogh

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Ballerina #27 as a Work in Progress

Ballerina #27 / oil on linen panel / 20x16

A few final small tweaks and she is finished (highlights on lips and softened edges here and there). As promised here is her work in progress from beginning to end:

Stage 1
Once I have the idea for the painting in mind, I always begin with a rough oil sketch directly on the canvas. Once in a while I will do preparatory drawings but not generally. Once the proportions are correct and the oil sketch has the right amount of energy and motion, I begin adding color thinned with mineral spirits to get an idea of the value structure.

Stage 3

 In this stage, I continue working on values and have refined her face and tutu. At this rough point, I decided on a dark background with lots of intersting things going on.

Stage 4

The back ground was painted with a mixture of burnt sienna and ultramarine blue in just the right amounts to create this gorgeous grey.  I also added some raw sienna here and there to warm the grey.

Stage 5
Refinement of her slippers and clothing, adjustments to the skin tones and continued work on the background elements. This is the photo that I posted yesterday.

Stage 6

 The final painting with softer edges and some additional highlights.  Actually the color is more true to the previous photo but the lighting today was different in my studio and this is the best photo I could get.

And a close up of the face.


 Thank you to everyone for looking and thank you to Sandra Busby for asking to see a wip.
Happy Spring and Happy Easter to everyone!



21 comments:

  1. Hi Susan! I thank both you and Sandra very much for this. Knowing only watercolor, I found your steps fascinating [especially as I know you once painted in watercolor].

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    1. Thanks, Kathryn - oil and water - two completely different techniques! I admit to loving them both but think I crave the smell of linseed oil - which is why I am compelled to paint in oil! :)

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  2. Thanks for sharing your process--fun to see! Another winner-love your ballerinas.

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    1. Many thanks, Stephanie. And I just love your recent produce painting - a masterpiece!

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  3. And thank YOU for posting one! I SO enjoyed seeing the way you work - It's fascinating to see an Artists individual way of painting. I just love your Ballerina paintings... they always make me smile. And those little dashes of warm and colours here and there really bring your paintings to life :0)

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    1. Thanks, Sandra. I think I need to loosen up. For me, the tendency is to move toward tighter and tighter brushwork and recently, I need to consciously try to keep the brush work free and unfettered.

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  4. Your ballerina "Ladies" have always been a favorite for me..and I love WIP so this was perfect. Wonderful painting, Susan.

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    1. Many thanks, Hilda - seeing your lovely pastels always makes me happy!

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  5. How nice to see the dancers back in action. I now begin the WIP processes! The ground, blocking in etc ... this painting thing is quite absorbing ... haven't touched a pen in weeks!

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    1. Your oil paintings are lovely, John - glad to see you are as captivated as I am! Of course, I know you will also continue with the pen and ink as I do believe ink flows in your arteries and veins!

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  6. Should read, "..begin to understand the WIP..."

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  7. Susan, ik vind dit een prachtig werk !
    groetjes,
    Simonne

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    1. So happy it pleases you, Simmone!

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  8. Susan, thank you so much for showing your process. Lovely.

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  9. It is always magic. You take empty piece of whatever and create a glimpse of life. I will never stop to be amazed by this magic.

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    1. This is such a wonderful comment, Irina - thank you from the bottom of my heart. It means a lot to me.

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  10. Great color! Great movement! Great skill! Great time looking at your work over and over again!
    Luscious comes to mind!
    Bravo my art buddy Susan!
    Happy Patriots' Day!
    Michael

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    1. Thank you, Michael. I know you live in the Boston area and I hope you and your family are safe and doing well.

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