Today ended the first stage of my painting. I realized I have been calling this stage a ‘dead coloring stage’, but I think that has been incorrect. A dead coloring stage is much more simplistic and blocky, whereas I have been adding lots of detail. I think I really should have been more simplistic in my initial approach. But after sitting back and looking the entire piece over for awhile, I am pretty happy with how it is turning out. So note to self: next painting start with a more basic dead coloring stage, then add details in the following stage.

I thought I was going to have a lot more notes, but I don’t feel there are too many corrections to be made. The main ones are the nose, mouth, and corset buttons. The mouth is too short on the left side, the left nostril needs to be moved out a bit, and the corset buttons need to all be the same size. I need to darken a few areas and lighten a few others, and I want to add a reflection of a lamp in the mirror and also add a small table with some flowers on it to the right side. Not bad.

So the next step will be to make the additions (lamp and table), then I’ll proceed to the next painting stage and make all the corrections as I’m doing the next pass. Most people might think that the painting is almost done. It’s really not. And it will be hard to understand what else needs to be done until you can compare the current stage with the final stage. Actually I have an idea how to show what I mean…

Below are some pictures from a painting Cesar Santos was working on of his wife. The first picture is the ‘dead coloring’ stage. The next picture is the ‘first painting’ stage, and the last picture is the ‘second painting’ stage. Granted this is the web, and the pictures are low resolution, but maybe you can see the differences. Notice how the last one looks smooth and vibrant and complete. That’s what I want my painting to look like when it’s done. If you look at the mirror in my painting, you can see it looks almost scribbly. The paint was thin and the heavy bristles of the brush left trails. When I’m done everything should be super smooth…at least that’s the plan.

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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