Today was the day to start a new painting. No more practicing or studying. Time to put all the recent work to use.

I set up a photo shoot with a model. Seeing how this is my first venture into the land of professional painting with a gallery goal in mind, I worked the model pretty hard today, making sure I got all the reference photos I needed. The shoot started off a little awkward because neither of us really knew what I was after, but after about an hour, four wardrobe changes, some falling lights, some background rearranging, and 1000 pictures later, I felt I got some good poses out of her.

I thought going through all those photos was going to be a daunting task, but it actually went really fast. I sped through them, marking the ones that stood out to me. I then took those marked photos – 36 of them – and went through them, narrowing my choices down to three. Out of those three, one shot stood out the most.

The canvas I chose for this new painting is a whopping 36″ x 48″, which is the biggest I’ve ever worked with. My first task was to get the drawing made and onto the canvas. I thought about drawing it on pieces of paper and then transferring the drawing to the canvas by rubbing down the backside of the papers with graphite pencil and then taping the paper to the canvas, then tracing the drawing. But I decided I wanted to sight draw directly on the canvas using a palette knife and pastel powder. I was nervous about doing it this way, but I felt only truly professional artists would take this approach, and that’s what I want to be.

I decided to set up my camera and record video of me drawing. At some point I will edit the video and maybe speed it up (I think I drew for 8 hours today) and then post it here on the blog. That might be fun to see.

The drawing went well. When I was done I looked it over to find mistakes. Her hip and waist looked wrong. I erased and redrew those areas a few more times before I felt it was looking pretty good.

Tomorrow I’ll look at it again with a fresh set of eyes, and when I’m happy I will take a pencil and trace over the pastel powder so it will be more defined and more permanent. I don’t know if I’ll have time to start the dead coloring stage, but hopefully I will.

By Cody Deegan

Cody Deegan is a life-long artist versed in drawing, painting, sculpting, and design. He studied filmmaking and character animation at the California Institute of the Arts in Los Angeles as well as figurative oil painting at the Gage Academy of Art in Seattle.

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