Thought I might share a little insight into how I created my Self Portrait 2020.
A lot of my paintings start off with basic tonal contrast to get an idea of shape, form and light. Dark, light and mid tones, usually created with raw umber, titanium white and process black.
The colour only comes once the tones are mapped out. I don't use grids or frames or tracing or any other method to draw out the image on the canvas first as I am not striving for an exact replica.
I'm hoping it will be different, hopefully better, than the reference image because I want it to have my own unique style and interpretation on it. So I lay it out by sight alone.
I guess it's a longer process this way as the shapes are constantly being altered but I feel it gives me more scope and flexibility if I'm not working within drawn-out lines. Then gradually I add colour and definition.
But I approach each painting differently. What I do with one, I won't with another. What works with one might not suit the next.
Someone asked me if I could recommend a good reference book for acrylic painting but I honestly couldn't. Not because there aren't many out there I'm sure, but because I make up what I do as I go along based on instinct and what I like the look of.
There are tons of free tutorials online that can help you with the basics, a particular technique or how to approach a particular subject. And I dip into some by the artists I like occasionally. But I like experimenting, learning as I go and finding stuff out for myself, usually the hard way!
A lengthier, probably more frustrating, approach than having a clear, defined, sleek process but one I am quite at home with.
For me, it has to be instinctive and that's not something you can get from a book. In fact, I often purposefully try to avoid such direction as I don't want to paint like someone else, I want to paint like me. I don't want perfection, I just want to express myself adequately.
I've gone through most of my life feeling like I'm winging it. At life, at journalism, at motherhood, at gardening, at cooking, at martial arts, at pretty much everything I do. That impostor syndrome where you never truly believe you know enough or are good enough to be doing what you're doing, and that if people found out about the real you, your cover would be blown.
But I think most people do. I like winging it. And it's the only way I know.