This is the process behind my oil painting "An Autumn Murder"
A portrait of my friend Autumn, with a murder (a group) of crows added into her forest surroundings.
All good paintings start with a concept sketch... I was inspired by a picture that Autumn had posted of herself wandering about in the woods, bundled up for warmth. (The Autumn is a creature who loves warmth...) I like the idea of elongating the image and having a flurry of crows scattering at the top of the painting.
From here, this image is sketched onto a blank canvas in Yellow Ocher oil paint. (with acrylics and watercolors I usually do my first sketch in pencil, but with oils, it's so easy to move the lines about that there's no point in smudging graphite into the mix.
The under-painting is given a few days to dry before starting to add color. (you can see the start of another oil painting (Low Light Murmur) hiding behind the easel.)
Once the under-painting has dried to the touch, low-lights and shadows are layered in. With oils, because of their transparent nature and wonderful glazing properties when thinned, the shadows go in first and the highlights are built up in the final layers.
Slowly, layers of color are added on as others dry or mixed in while the paint is still wet (oils, depending on how much medium is used to thin them, can take a few days or a few weeks to dry completely.)
The next step is sketching in the crows. I used Blue black so they would stay slightly transparent and so that brushstrokes would show up like feathers.
With the crows filed in and the background looking good, I start on the details of the face, shading and the eyes.
Details in the face are coming along...
Highlights in the hair and final touches all around and the painting is starting to look finished!
"An Autumn Murder", 60x14" Oil on Canvas