I finally managed to put together a video of my painting process!
The video is sped up 40 times, and what you can see here in 13 minutes was actually created over the course of 4 days.
You can see the finished work in my gallery:
“Nourishing Heart” by Nela Dunato. Acrylic on canvas, 40x50cm.
Filming it was difficult and frustrating, as the photo camera I was filming it with could only shoot 25-minute clips at a time, so in the end I had over 40 clips shot over the span of 4 days that I had to put together. I suppose I won’t be doing more of these until I get a proper camera with HD video filming capabilities.
In any case, I hope this video will satisfy your curiosity about my painting process :)
Now to explain the process a bit…
In the beginning of the video I showed my preparations, which are as follows:
- Rough sketches to note the idea when I first think of it, and thumbnails to decide on the composition.
- Gathering reference images from books and internet, and photographing my own model. In this case I tried out around 50 different hand poses in various lighting conditions before deciding on the backlit pose I liked the best. However, my favorite one was blurry so I had another similar pose that was clearer for the detail.
I tend to copy my own model photos more or less accurately, and other reference photos serve me to see how colors, light and texture work in real-world objects so that my own creations have a dose of realism.
- Creating studies. I did many studies of the trees, a few studies of the heart morphing into a tree and the hand holding the heart, before I started working on the final study in the same size as my painting. In this study I made sure all the proportions are correct and shadows were placed in correct places. The tree and heart shape are invented, though I did my best to make it realistic.
- Preparing the paper for tracing. I put my study and a thin sheet of newsprint paper on the window and traced the outlines. Then I covered the other side of the paper with charcoal. You can see me in the video around 2:50 placing this paper over the canvas and going over the lines with colored pencil so that the charcoal transfers onto the canvas.
After several different approaches to painting, I realized that the best one is where I make a 1:1 drawing before and get all the proportions right before I commit to painting. That way I can focus on value and color in my painting.
I started by painting the background, but you can see me working again on the background in the end. I call this “poor planning”, since I have started with a background that was a bit too dark in the middle.
In one moment you can see me going around the canvas with an eraser, because I was removing the charcoal residues. You can also see me drawing lightly with charcoal pencil, adding tree branches here and there and drawing the hand where I have accidentally wiped it off during painting.
I hope you enjoyed this video! If you have any questions, or perhaps tips on how I can improve my creation process (or videos), do let me know in the comments!
If you’re learning how to paint in acrylic and are wondering how I paint the skin, go check out my post How I paint skin tones in acrylic where I wrote about this in more detail.
About Nela Dunato
Artist, brand designer, teacher, and writer. Author of the book “The Human Centered Brand”. Owner of a boutique branding & design consultancy that helps experienced service-based businesses impress their dream clients.
On this blog I write about art, design, creativity, business, productivity and marketing, and share my creative process and tips. Read more about me...
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