By Eric Fortune
Here’s a little step by step of my recent painting “Lilith”. In my sketches you may notice that they are all facing left. I notice myself doing this sometimes and will flip the image just to mix it up a bit. Otherwise, my body of work would be a left facing army of artwork. A teacher of mine pointed this out in college and it’s something that I’ve noticed ever since. Many things were pointed out to say the least. But I’ll keep those to myself.
I wanted this to be a somber and moody piece. Reflective but also showing some tension. Obviously, the pose of the figure says a lot. But I’m also using a very muted palette and a lot of soft edges mixed with harder, sharper edges to try evoke different thoughts as well. I wanted the figure to float in and out of existence.
As for time, this piece went rather quickly compared to many of my other works. I think part of that reason may be that I did a lot more large washes in the beginning. I really wanted to build up the value on the piece overall before letting myself get caught up in details. I often see something cool happen in the paint that I’m afraid I’ll lose if I don’t define it now. By the time I finish the painting that cool mark may be completely unnoticeable. So for efficiency’s sake I held off of the small brushes a long I could. Granted there’s always some back and forth as you approach the end of a painting to make it as cohesive as possible.
While painting some unexpected things happened that I decided I liked enough to keep. For example while applying some darker washes in the hair some clean water rain down creating these lighter stripes between the dark patches of hair. I hadn’t planned for this but I thought it added some extra depth and also accentuated some of the vertical lines I had with the drawing. I try to plan out most of what I want to happen but I think giving yourself some room for spontaneity and letting the painting form organically can lead to some unexpected and enjoyable results. Sometimes unexpected and unwanted results or as Bob Ross would say “Happy little accidents”. But years of experience and painting in thin layers like I do helps to be able to deal with these without too much stress…most of the time.