The progression of a painting

Art is always hard to explain. 

How did you make this? Did you start with an idea or just paint? How many layers are on here? How long does it take you to paint a picture?

All of these questions have been thrown at me before, and usually I never know how to answer the questions in a way that really describes the process of creating one of my pieces.

I never really start with a solid idea. I most certainly never create a sketch. I like the process to be organic and free. My paintings are multiple layers–so many that I wouldn’t even be interested in counting. I toyed with the idea of hosting some in-person classes this summer to teach my chicken-and-sunflower-painting process, but decided against it because of how incredibly personal the process is. It’s something that is completely my own. My style is recognizable and bold, and I want to keep it locked away. For now…

I just finished a piece for our kitchen–to hang above our staircase. I decided it would be fun to document the process from start to finish.

I found this old canvas in the corner of my classroom. It was poorly stretched and a little wonky; so I thought it’d be perfect for a large chicken painting. To start, I just rough-sketched in my concept: a chicken surrounded by sunflowers. Basic! 

I then block in my background. Multiple shades of blue and gray. 

The chicken is always my favorite thing to paint, so I just got in there and blocked in the mid-tone values of the Buff Orpington hen. 

Since I had my browns out, I went in and added the centers to my flowers. Lots of color mixing here! 

 In this step, you can clearly see that I’ve went in and added shadows and highlights to the chicken. I’ve also started on the stems and blocking in yellow for the petals. A bit of white pops up below the chicken for the grass she’s loitering in.

More yellow petals and stem work. The stems are anchored to the piece by adding some blue to the green. 

More petals in shades of yellow, gold, brown and orange are added. I also pull in yellow throughout the piece to give the illusion of other flowers in the background. 

 Stems pop up under the chicken in shades of green, black and white. Line work is added in small doses to the rest of the piece to add more contrast and abstraction.

 I brought more orange and gold into this piece in the grass below the chicken–impasto, so it’s very textural.

Some more shadowing is added to the hen’s head, and finer details are added throughout. 

I finish the piece with black ink, black charcoal and flicks of paint to add texture.

The final result.

This piece is waiting to be framed now. I was quite excited when I took her home and saw how delightfully well it pulled together all the colors in our kitchen. Farmhouse art at its finest!

{All images in this post are property of Creativty Farm, and are strictly for educational purposes and should not be saved, reproduced or shared for any reason outside of their original format.}

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