ON THE EASEL: "Mohawk"

This is one of the paintings that I'm working on for the upcoming group show, "Convergence" (opening September 2nd, 2016 at the Mattie Rhodes Center Art Gallery, KCMO)  

Size: 4ft x 4ft hand crafted birchwood panel

Media: Acrylic, paint marker, spray paint, house paint, colored pencil 

It falls into my series of strong, courageous women who wear hairstyles that are indicative of their inner voice..

My first step is always the messiest stage of a painting. I start by enlarging my sketch to the panel/canvas and I lay in a few washes of colors to establish highlights/ shadows and areas of transition. Usually, I like the paint to be thinned out so that I can do a complete wash and then use a rag to wipe away areas where highlights will be placed and then I can go in add more paint to establish darker shadows. 

One of the next steps is to begin making decisions within the hair. I like to use monotone color schemes to start with or, ideally, grey tones (since they're easy to mix and I can pay attention to value/light/gradations without worrying about color transitions.) 

Generally, once I'm finished adding in various grey/white/black areas and I've grown comfortable with what I "feel" should happen, I'll complete the grey tones and begin to wash over those areas with thin layers of various colors later (after I've actually decided on a color scheme for the hair, which takes longer than I'd like to admit.)

At this step, I'm adding in various details into the hair and I'm beginning to rework the face, by adding in more opaque skin tones, washes and by working out the issues with mid tones and hight lights.