I really enjoyed this tonal painting lesson by Will Kemp. I had been saving it for when I got through a few others that seemed simpler to paint because it incorporates a more thorough underpainting with the values in the subject as well as glazing.
I took my time with the drawing stage to try to get it as accurate as I could without tracing. I used a horizontal and vertical reference line to help me orient the shapes and get the proportions on track. The shaping on the tail gave me loads of trouble for some reason. Perhaps doing more of a large shape block in to position the elements would have helped. I’m definitely still feeling my way through an effective way to get a drawing onto the canvas when it’s just one part of the overall piece, not the end goal.
|Checking my values on the underpainting against the reference image sitting on the top of my easel.|
I don’t know if it was the subject (this was my favorite reference image so far), the fact that I used a larger flat brush, or the way I held the brush further back on the handle, but I was able to stay looser with this one. It could be the pre-mixed tonal range giving me some comfort and confidence, or the Mark Carder videos I’ve been watching on painting ugly. Not that I think I’ve gotten there yet, but it was a step in the right direction.
My underpainting got too dark, so when I added the glazes and other color layers I had to lighten things up here and there. I learned to shoot for going a step lighter on the tonal/color string as I paint it in.
This one was painted on some linen blend fabric from my sewing stash that was adhered to a piece of mat board and gessoed. I love the texture of it and would like to try out some clear gesso in order to leave some of the natural linen color showing. That would have been really cool with this subject because of the way the reference photo basically has a white background.