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Here is a time-lapse video--shot and edited by the model, herself--that gives a sneak peak into my portrait painting process. The video covers a 6-hour session in which I accomplished the 'block-in' stage of the portrait. This stage of the painting is where I transform the monochromatic under-painting (done in raw umber) into a full color painting. The aim is to opaquely, though thinly, lay down the big impression of the painting, focusing on accuracy of color-values and softness of edges over either detail or form. I always strive for a unity of impression in this stage--trying to bring every part of the painting up to the same level of resolution, so as not to throw the composition off balance, I also aim to preserve the drawing I established in the under-painting or, better-yet, improve upon it.
In this particular block-in I was focused on establishing a unity between the dark, mid-tone background and Kara's dark grey shirt, so as to draw the eye upward and inward to the main area of focus, formed by the collar, earring, face and neck. I also worked on establishing the warmest and the coolest color notes in he flesh tones, which may appear slightly jarring at this stage, but were later unified to create the vibrating effect of Kara's pale complexion.
And here is the final painting, to compare with:
Video and photo courtesy of Kara Cochran