Materials · oil painting · Productivity · Step-by-step · Technique

Ballerina's Day 4

Here is my progress from Day 4.

I darkened the curtains and redefined the spaces for their legs and around their faces and backs. I also made a few changes to the very far back wall as defining the rail into a line shape pointing to that puff in the front dancer’s hair helped the composition.

Other than that, I spent most of my day working on Dancer #2. I can see from this photo of the painting that I need to change something in the back of her costume as her cocked right arm looks like it is growing directly out of her back. I also now want to go back in and lighten her left ankle a tiny bit. I also need to push her hair up closer to her head so her neck looks a tad bit longer. Over all, not unhappy so far. I’m pretty sure Dancer #2 is my granddaughter, so I tried to capture her big eyes and cute nose.

Here is my palette as it grew today.

I normally try to keep to a well organized palette and I started off okay, but colors kept asking to join the party so things are out of alignment. That grey (which is really a very pale blue) does not belong on the top row there. I will move it to the cool side of the palette a the next painting session.

The first thing that got mixed this session was a huge pile of the black which is using a bit of help from Ivory Black. So it’s Ivory Black, Burnt Umber, Ultramarine Blue. You can see my flesh tone mixtures of Vermilion, Lead White, Ocher, and Indian Red and a tad of Burnt Sienna. Some shadow colors using the Grey and Ultramarine Blue emerged from that pile as well. The costumes are primarily Quin. Magenta, Lead White, Ultramarine Blue and Ocher.

I use a “string” mixing method so there is a consistency throughout the painting.

I do save paint from sessions where I mixed a big pile (like that black), or I put out too much of a color. I transfer the paint from this palette to a holding sheet (which is a little 6×6 square board) and put the whole thing in a sealable plastic container. I don’t use the paint after two days in most cases as it gets too hard. I do clean off my working palette every day. If I’m going to be away from the studio for a few days, I will seal the paint in the plastic container and put it in the freezer where it will keep for a couple of weeks. I am just sure to let it thaw out without the lid on for about an hour so any moisture condensation can evaporate before I paint with it.

On this painting I’m using Gamblin’s Solvent Free Gel for a medium.

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