In this part of the blog I will explain in detail the decisions I take, the techniques, the colors and type of brushes I use to make the paintings from the very beginning so that if you decide to start painting on your own, you can use this as a guide. Painting astronomical objects in oil on canvas is not easy. This is the reason why most artists create digital images instead. Even though it is not an easy task and probably my paintings will not be as perfect as if I created digitized work, I decided to do this collection in oils because the brushstrokes show the imperfections, I might say, the humanity, of the person holding the brush and because I simply adore oils. Contrary to a print, an original oil painting is a unique work of art that has texture you can see and feel.
Stage 1. For this painting, I started out with a white cotton canvas which I primed four times with black gesso, a mixture consisting of a binder mixed with chalk, gypsum and black pigment. I coated the canvas with thin brushstrokes because I don’t want the structure of the canvas itself to disappear. After each coat, I sanded the canvas delicately with the finest sand paper, to get rid of unwanted brushstrokes. After the fourth coat, the canvas was let to dry completely overnight. To serve as a guide, I made a light pastel chalk drawing of the object and laid out background colors in titanium white and ultramarine blue.
Stage 2. I mixed titanium white with cadmium yellow to highlight the areas between the lower mouth and chin.
Stage 3. I continued with a mixture of cobalt blue and titanium white. I added more titanium white where I want my object to be illuminated more — the right side of the witch is illuminated by Rigel, Orion’s brightest star and the 7th most brilliant star in the sky. Hence, it is a very strong light source. I used, once again, titanium white with cadmium yellow for the highest highlights. Besides that, it is all about blending the colors and giving shape and texture to the object. I want it to look light and fluffy. For this reason, I let my brush to caress the canvas as light as possible and I don’t overwork the brushstrokes.
Stage 4. I did an overall highlight with a mixture of ultramarine blue and titanium white. The clouds around the head were painted with pthalo blue and a hint of white. I continued blending and giving structure to the gaseous clouds.