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Friday, October 10, 2014

Painting of a Little Girl: Julia and Julia

How fun it would be to visit a butterfly pavilion and discover that there is a butterfly there with your same name. And so my portrait title comes from the two lovely Julia's in this painting.
Julia and Julia
12 x 9", Oil on canvas
Rita Salazar Dickerson (c) 2014
Stage 1: The drawing. With a mixture of ultramarine blue and transparent earth red thinned with mineral spirits, I used a number 2 filbert brush to draw Julia and the butterfly freehand.
Stage 2: Julia's face. Painting alla prima(Italian, meaning at first attempt), I completed the face and hair while adding some color to the background so that I could create soft edges and compare color. I did block in her face with a thin layer of paint before I came back in with a thicker second layer. (Sorry, I forgot to photograph the first layer.)
Stage 3: Painting the dress, arm and hands. When painting wet paint-on-wet paint, I look forward to seeing how the top layer of paint will work into the blocked in color of the first layer.
Stage 4: Painting the second layer of the dress, arm and hands. I mixed a pale pink to give the  impression of the white design on her dress fabric.  I like what the fabric pattern does to the painting -- adding interest, detail and color.
Stage 5: Completing the painting. This unique background created an interesting challenge for me: to give enough information to help tell the story of this butterfly, Julia, and its surroundings with Julia the little girl -- but not make it too cluttered with unnecessary detail. Because I have a tendency to paint every last leaf in a painting like this, I combat this issue of mine with a palette knife. After I applied the paint with the palette knife I then came back in with a soft brush to create the illusion of plants intermingling with the butterfly and red flowers.

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