Completed at last!!!!! What started off as a study for a life-size painting, turned into a 3 and a half year project which I finished several days ago on the eve of my 37th birthday – a nice little present to myself! Working on this has tested my patience more than any other drawing or painting that I’ve done. I’ve lost track of the hours spent on this, but I imagine it’s close to 7 or 8 hundred. At times I nearly wanted to give up, as the task seemed too daunting, but I stuck it out and kept pushing forward (breaking every now and then to work on other small projects) until finally the finish was in sight. The last couple of weeks working on this were filled with excitement and adrenalin as I saw it all come together.
I still have every intention to revisit this image in an enormous 15 x 6 foot painting but I am going to take a break from it first and do a series of small floral still life’s. Part of what has made this project so time consuming for me is the technique, which consisted of multiple layers. Each section of flowers began with a general light color applied roughly with a medium soft pastel and smoothed out with a small brush. Darks and lights were then worked over this initial layer with a combination of mediums including colored pencil, pastel pencil, charcoal pencil and black ink. The transitions and shading were achieved with blending brushes and tortillions.
When painted, the flowers will have richer, bolder colors, and Emily’s flesh tones will be rendered in neutral warms and cools. I will keep posting updates as the painting progresses which will probably ensue over the course of 5 years or more, being one of the largest and most ambitious projects I’ve ever attempted.