Process of a painting 1


So, my biggest promise to myself for 2012 was that I will dedicate more time to my painting. Many things got in the way last year and I only really finished 3 paintings and a selection of pencil drawings, although I kept to my daily sketches for a few months.  Last week I finished my first painting of the year and after looking at my images of the process I thought I would share it with you! Please bear in mind that many of these were taken very late at night before changes were made the next day so I apologise for the blurriness and darkness of some of the photos – also there are quite a few of them so I will write this over a few blog posts.

The starting point were the two sketches on the right hand page above and with no other ideas of how the finished piece was to turn out , I just started drawing, getting a feel for the figure and her pose.

My previous paintings have often only had very minimal backgrounds; blurry and atmospheric but I have been playing around with ideas of ‘place’ in my sketches so knew that I wanted to add some of these ideas into new work. I had taken some photos at Newstead Abbey a while ago and really like the archways so decided to incorporate those into the composition.

This is the largest painting I have worked on since my Art College days at 24″ x 30″ which is pretty much double the size I have been painting on the last few years. It is on 100% cotton watercolour paper that has been prepped with gesso and I started drawing with first a 2b lead pencil and then a black marks-all pencil to begin defining the lines. At this point I was drawing the arches by eye only – no measuring, just trying to put something in.

When I am painting I am not really thinking too much about how the finished piece will turn out, or indeed a particular theme. Although all of my work has a distinct ‘style’ (or at least I hope it does) this is not neceassarily a conscious thing – I just paint what I paint (in simple terms). There are quirks that carry on through – the doll like/puppet like figures; the awkward poses; the costume details; the melancholic expressions and the dark atmospheres and the oversized hands inspired by prosthetic limbs. So at this point of the painting I am leaning towards reds and rust colours, building up a base with the paints to then add details in later. I am painting with acrylics early in the piece – and flitting back and forwards between paint and drawing materials as I love working with line as well as colour and texture.

More progress tomorrow! Please ask any questions if you have any – I am enjoying looking back at the long process and journey of this piece.


13 thoughts on “Process of a painting 1

  1. Oooooooh Gillian! I wish i could draw like that!
    Your work is so amazing.
    From an other world…
    I’m gonne try to make my furst attemt next week.
    My fingers are itching for a long time now.
    Exiting, is it not?

    Have fun,

  2. Gillian, I am also a member of Cloth and Clay. You can see my foto’s on my page there. I have to put more pictures on but i dont have a camera 😦
    What kind of camera do you use for your pictures, Gillian?
    Thilda Vermeiren

    • Thilda I got into your website! I love your work so much. Do you have a blog? I need to check back into clay and cloth dolls – there are just not enough hours in the day for me to keep up with all the online places I want to visit 😦

    • Thilda sorry forgot to answer your question – my camera is a Fuji 9500 – not top of the range and probably a lot cheaper now than when I bought it 6 or so years ago – I do like it though

  3. Really liking this do far Gillian! Colour combo looks good. Particularly love bottom right of your sketches, nearly always prefer the sketching stage to an actual finished piece of any artist so really enjoying this idea x

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