Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Anatomy Of A Painting - Angel In Flowered Scarf

I haven't done one of these posts for a while, but I have been working on a commission this last couple of weeks - a larger piece that had a lot of detail and took quite a number of sessions to complete, so perfect to follow from start to finish. This painting is based on my smaller piece 'Angel In Flowered Scarf'. The original is about 9 x 13 inches. This one is 20 x 24, so quite a large jump up in size there. 

The customer wanted her piece to be as near as possible to the original, which was painted in mixed media on a grungey monoprinted background. This led to a couple of challenges right away - the proportions of the paper sizes are different, therefore in order to keep the angel the same proportions, I had to leave a little extra background at each side of the figure. Also, trying to replicate a grunge abstract background is quite difficult .... and I have the other sheets to prove it ;-) After making several prints, I chose this one, as I had managed to get it most like the original. I will use the other sheets for different artworks, cut back down to smaller sizes.

After laying down the monoprint, I then started my initial sketch, using the original piece as reference. I also made a copy of the original and sectioned it by folding it into quarters, length and width wise to help me work out proportions. After painting in the initial figure, I worked a bit more on the background, putting a bit more grunge in, to make it more like the original, and deepened the background colour with several layers. Acrylic is great for building up very rich, deep, jewel-like colour. In the photo above, I had started to also add a bit of detail on the body. 

Above, I am about three quarters way through the painting. By this time I have added many layers of colour, drawn in detail, and started the background patterning. 

The finished piece. Now I have drawn in lots of detail, which is a little hard to see on these photos, but there is actually quite a lot of drawing on this work. The photo below compares the two works. The original is slightly darker as the grungey background is more prominent, however I didn't want to add to much black to this much larger piece - it will be taking up far more wall space obviously - I wanted to really use the size to enable the work to zing! Therefore the black shading under the work is slightly less. I feel this makes the angel stand out nore - her face is lighter, and the whole figure doesn't blend into the background as much. Also, as previously mentioned, the angel has a little bit more background up each side of her due to the paper proportions being different. 

I am incredibly pleased with how this painting has turned out. I'ts never easy to replicate another work ..... in fact it's jolly difficult. :-) Also with commissioned work you have the added pressure of making sure the customer gets exactly what they want. Thankfully, in the 15 years I have been taking private commissions I have never had one person who didn't like their finished artwork (shameless self promotion!!!) When I do bespoke artwork I always give myself loads of time as I like to work in numerous sessions, in order to be fresh at each session so I can do my very best work. Also, this gives me time, in case I have to start again. A rare occurrence, but again, less pressure if I know I don't have to rush anything.


  1. I love how you pull things together with pattern like the motifs in the background and dress. Love the texture of the background as well. An exciting and beautiful painting.