Steps 7 and 8

Step seven has been to paint the fourth child (the one on the far right side of the painting) and step eight has been to start adding a little color and texture to the background and to work on the hand.


Here is the setup I’m using for this painting.  I have a metal easel that I prefer.  I bought it for painting watercolors, but have found it works well for oils.  I’m able to tilt the canvas as much as I need rather than just keeping it upright.  I bought a laptop table a couple years ago and have found that it works wonderfully for holding my palette, thinner, brushes, etc.  The height is adjustable and I have it to the maximum height.  I sit on a stool that is elevated.  I like to either stand or sit when I paint, depending on what I’m working on.  I find that when I’m working on something rather difficult, I stand up.  It must be a control thing.  I may feel more in control of the brush when I’m standing.  I don’t know.  Maybe I hold my breath and standing helps.  (Shoulder shrug).

This is my starting palette.  I’ve listed the colors in previous posts.



The first step was to lay in general blocks of color, just as I did with the other children.  With this child, I wasn’t sure how dark I would end up.  I want to reflect her true colors, but I wasn’t sure I wanted her to stand out more than the others.  I tabled that decision momentarily.


I added some highlights and shadows, trying to incorporate more violet than I had used previously.


It was time to begin blending the blocks of color.

Four-of-Four-step-5I then began working on the background that was just to the right of child two.  I’d gone to the National Gallery in DC over the weekend and saw a background I liked in one of the Dutch paintings.

Four-of-Four-step-6You can barely see the color variations I added just above the hand.  I like it.  I decided to work on the hand at that point and liked how it turned out.  Also worked on the cloth around her neck.

QUESTION: I’m going to add a fifth person to the painting.  It’ll divide the two children on the left from the two on the right.  My dilemma is this.  The person I’ll add is a woman and she’s holding the flashlight next to her face, illuminating the book that the children are reading.  The flashlight made all the faces violet.  I am trying to keep things warm.  I am pretending the light is from a candle or lantern.  The hand holding the flashlight is covering up most of the woman’s face.  That hand is wearing a work glove, too.  I don’t want a work glove in the painting and I don’t want a flashlight.  What should I do?  Suggestions?


2 comments on “Steps 7 and 8

  1. Wow, Shelley! Beautiful work! What a great talent you have.

  2. I love the demonstration of the steps in the painting! I just started going through the exercises in Learn to Draw: Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain and I’ve been paying particular attention to the countours and representation of shadow. Your illustrations were really helpful to show that in paint.

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