i always start by *inking* or outlining the image in a watered down version of a gray acrylic, after i've transferred the sketch to the canvas, that is. by laying down the gray outline on top of the pencil transfer, the image doesn't get lost once i begin to lay down the background layers of color.
i choose my color palette for the background (in this case pastels and different shades of white to mimic the gemstone Opal) and then i go crazy just laying down the color in various strokes. i don't blend the paint on the palette at this point, just on the canvas with the large brush so that it's a it more random...the placement of color. i usually will do 2 coats of the background before moving on to the next step....
once the background is complete, i start to lay down the underpainting of the flesh in the mermaids face and then i address all the other parts of the painting the same way....always underpainting and building from background to foreground.
for October's mermaid, Opal, i am slowly building watercolor-like washes with my acrylics. let me give some MAJOR LOVE right now to acrylics. they are my FAVORITE medium for numerous reasons. they are extremely versatile and the color pay off is fabulous! i love how they can be watered down to an almost watercolor-like consistency or they can be applied thick with a brush, palette knife or whatever you can get your hands to lay down the paint. they are build able and there is no crazy drying time like there is with oils (not that i don't love oils too....). can't say enough about them!
ok, back to Opal here....
i'm laying down washes of color first in stages so that i can go back over them with a light mix of dove gray, unbleached and bleached titanium paints to give it that opal like milky look. the trick here, as opposed to the other mermaids in the series, is that because the hair and the background are so similar, i have to make sure that Opal doesn't fade away, hence the deeper colors in the strands of hair.
afterward, it's time to move on to the jellyfish and the rest of the painting and then VOILA...the finished little masterpiece! :) hoping to have her listed FOR SALE by the end of this coming week.
speaking of, can't believe it's almost September already! THANK GOD!!! BRING ON FALL!!! and FOOTBALL!!! and for those of you who truly know me, you know what that means....PEYTON MANNING BACK ON MY TV SCREEN!!!