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Copyright April M Rimpo All Rights Reserved. You may share my work with attribution and a link to this source site, but all other uses are prohibited.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

"Illumination" 36" X 20" Watercolor and Fluid Acrylic

The development of a painting can take a variety of paths. I generally have a mood I want to communicate which leads me to how I approach the work. However, many things can influence the approach you take to create a piece:
  • A workshop you have taken may affect color choices, 
  • An experimental painting you've finished gives you new ideas, or 
  • A painting video you watched provides a new interesting way to create textures in the background and sparks an idea
Any of these can impact how you tackle a painting you've been planning for a long time but didn't know where to start. 
After Steps 1 and 2
I think all of these events initially impacted how I approached Illumination. With so many different ideas floating in my head I decided to put off the painting for a short time to see what bubbled up as the most important of these inspirations. I have to admit that I decided to discard the video idea for now until I try the approach on a few smaller works. However, some new color possibilities and recent experiments definitely came out to play while I created this painting.

At left is the result of the first two steps of the painting. Step 1 was applying mask over some highlight areas and the background wash.  I applied the colors in a swirly motion so they could create their own fantastic blends and resulted in color "stripes" in the shapes of the structure in which the woman is standing. I worked on her face and some clothing shadows during Step 2. My goal was to establish the focal point and work out the value range for the figure. 
Step 3 of Illumination
Step 4 of Illumination
In Step 3 I developed the lower shaded areas using a color combination I experimented with recently. The color triad for the darks is three grayed mixtures of Alizarin Crimson Permanent, Indigo, and Raw Sienna. Each gray uses one of these colors as the dominant color and the other two were used in small portions to just calm down the blend.

In Step 4, the mass of branches on the right side were fully developed by layering more of the gray blends and a nearly black blend.

Step 5 of Illumination
Although it was another hour and a half of work, Step 5 might look very much like Step 4. In it I added shadows under all the highly lit branches  and more dark shadows in the upper left and upper right. Also completed in Step 5 were the hands of the figure and some more darks on her face. 
Step 6 of Illumination

Step 6 is shown at right.
The painting is nearly complete, except for the branches across the bottom. They need soft transitions between the highlights and the shadows under the branches.

Below is the completed painting, Illumination.  Please share your feedback in the comments below.
Illumination by April M Rimpo

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Copyright April M Rimpo All Rights Reserved. You may share my work with attribution and a link to this source site, but all other uses are prohibited.


  1. So interesting seeing your process, thanks for sharing April :)

    1. So nice to hear from you, Sheila. Thank you for the comment. Not all paintings start the same, but I do generally have a few spots where I save a little white with masking fluid and then gradually work darker from there. I hope you are well.


I look forward to hearing from you. - April

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