I have used Alizarin Crimson thinned with turps to draw over the charcoal lines. Two reasons, first of all it fixes the charcoal, or replaces it, and stops it making everything turn a bit grey, secondly Alizarin Crimson shows up quite well when it is underneath other colours, so at first the drawing will still be visible.
Once that is dry I block in the lights and the darks. On this one I have started with the very light areas but there is no reason for this, I could have started with the darks. I think as the light is such a strong part of this picture I was keen to put it in.
I then place the darks making some differentiation between the very darkest shapes and the merely shadowy. I never paint with black, as I seem to find quite a lot of colours in the darkest places and I want to get them in.
Now the picture is beginning to take shape, light is already catching the edge of his jaw.
While I am working I am thinking very hard about the subject, the smell of a young child’s hair, the softness of the skin, fragility of the neck, also about the warmth of the sun coming through the window, sounds that could be heard. This is how I try to distil the essence of a subject into a painting.
That’s all for today, next instalment coming soon.