Painting Process: The Making of “Omens”

Painting Process: The Making of “Omens”


Hi, I’m Cynthia Sheppard. In this video I’m going to show you the process of how I made this painting, called “Omens.” Like most of my work, it began as a series of small thumbnails in my sketchbook. Once I had a clear idea of what I wanted the composition to look like, I shot reference photos for the female character and the drapery. Then, looking closely at the reference, I created this drawing using graphite, white charcoal, and india ink, to use as a foundation for the painting. After scanning in the drawing, I also made a colorized version in Photoshop to get an idea of how I wanted to use color throughout the whole composition. I’ll keep a printout next to my easel as I work. The final painting’s going to be 22 x 30 inches on illustration board which is bigger than the drawing, so I scaled it up in Photoshop and printed out a template in sections which you can do if you don’t have access to a large format printer. I put a sheet of tracing paper coated in charcoal behind the template and traced over the printed drawing with a hard lead pencil which transfers the most important lines of the drawing to my illustration board. After that, I used pencil to darken some of the lines. Then the drawing was ready to be sealed, starting with a coat of spray fixative and three or four coats of acrylic matte medium. After the medium dried, I was ready to start the acrylic underpainting. I’ll be using three colors in the underpainting: black, raw umber, and alizarin crimson. This will allow some warm tones to show through later when I’m working in oil. I’ll control the opacity of the acrylics by thinning them with water and matte medium and letting the white of the illustration board show through. From here I’ve sped up the video so you can watch the painting evolve. (music plays) I’ve chosen to use a limited palette of ivory black, white, yellow ochre, and alizarin crimson and Prussian blue later as a glazing color. Those pigments should give me the range of colors I need for this painting. As a medium I’m using one part Turpenoid and one part linseed oil mixed together. (music plays) I hope you enjoyed seeing this painting take shape. Thanks for watching.

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