One of the highlights at IMC was sitting down with Rebecca Guay and watching her work her magical technique from start to finish. It was one of the first things I wanted to try when I returned home. Though she began with a photo of her daughter, I figured it would work just as well on a sketch. So I pulled out this sketch and began.In Photoshop, I built up light layers of color, keeping them fairly muted. After that, I "ghosted" the image with a layer of white and printed it out on a 13"x 19" sheet of watercolor paper. (This is darkened so you can see it better).
Next I wet down the paper and taped it to my board. After allowing it to dry completely, I applied a coat of acrylic matte medium. On top of this I started painting with Holbein's acryla gouache. Though the colors are opaque, you can water them down to a watercolor transparent-like consistency. I also strengthened the lines with a brown Verithin pencil.
This painting obviously went through many changes. Tried a couple different backgrounds, hair shapes and skies. After I thought it was ready, I photographed it and the problems were glaringly there before me. First, the weight of the trees in the background was too heavy on the right as well as crowding the bird.
Next was the sternomastoid (circled above...no, it's not a giant earring). Way too severe. Edges way too hard. So I softened it and will soften it some more with the oil layer.
I know there are other minor things wrong, but I decided to commit and move forward.
(This is an experiment after all).
Next, I put a layer of Galkyd on it. This warms up the colors with it's clear amber hue and seals the paint underneath. Once it dries, I will begin the transparent oil glazes on top.
Rebecca made this all look so easy when she demonstrated it. She uses watermarks to her advantage and wields her brush with such a deft hand. I have too many layers of paint on this, losing much of the transparent look she achieves with her work. But it's a start.