My journey from painting photo realism to a more impressionistic and spontaneous technique has been interesting and full of learning. Artistic evolution is inevitable but we do choose in which direction we desire to travel. As my life has changed and progressed, I found my style of painting has too. I've been teaching workshops/classes for the past 18 years and have heard so often "I want to loosen up!" I believe each stage in an artists journey is very valuable and is a building block to where they will end up. I can suggest bigger brushes and more paint but more than anything I say, " PAINT, PAINT ,PAINT!"
Here is a look at my personal painting process. I always do a thumbnail to soundly affirm in my brain what I want to spend the next number of hours developing. Too much time is wasted if I don't do this. Sometimes it takes a few sketches. I use a fine felt rather than a pencil to stay away from detail. I want the spontaneous freedom to start here at the very beginning!
The journey begins. Next I loosely draw my image on the canvas adjusting as needed. Easier now than later. I start to block in the darkest flesh colour, not worrying about my drawing lines.
I focus on transparent pigments and blocking in local colours in a very loose manner (Imprimatura). Slowly adding opaque hues, the light begins to emerge. I keep building the light and adjusting the dark's until it creates the affect I want. Painting is such a balancing act, full of troubleshooting and problem solving. I have to admit I love this challenge! The last image here shows my 'it might be done?' stage. At this point I leave it and possibly revisit it later.
Being married to your paints and getting to know them will give you great freedom to allow you to paint with confidence!
Debbie Milner Lively- AFCA
I've been a professional artist for the past 20 years. I can say the journey has been amazing!