This was a private commission, which I'm pleased to have finished. The client/customer asked that there be a female figure in it and the colour purple. Here we are then!
As always I began the process by scribbling several thumbnails in my sketchbook. This is a process I very very rarely waver from. After that I did a couple of quick colour studies, although I had a fairly solid idea as to the colour scheme from the outset. Once the final idea was decided, I did a more detailed pencil drawing, which was then transferred to canvas. So at this early stage the design of the painting and the colour scheme are already worked out (preparatory work really does go a long way).
I sometimes begin my painting with a imprimatura of a neutral colour like Burnt Sienna, but this is not always desirable. I like to crudely block in the basic shadows next, usually with a mixture of Burnt Sienna and Ultramarine. It's a good way of establishing the value range, and it gives the painting a bit of shape, form, and contrast.
After this stage I ideally look to solve the background as quickly as I can. It can make or break an image, and in this painting it did take up a lot of space. At first I was going to have the background as one block of monochrome grey, but it lacked drama. Hence the diagonal shadow cast by the light source from the left, which leads to the centre of interest. Funnily enough I can't imagine it any other way now, although I only decided on it a week into starting the painting. Preparatory work is great, but little discoveries along the way can add more dynamic to an idea...
The whole painting was rendered with Quinacridone Red, Ultramarine Blue, Cadmium Yellow Light, Burnt Sienna, Flake White, and of course Titanium White.