The Huntress I and II – step-by-step

The Huntress I – oil on canvas, 20 x 20, Kit Miracle

The Huntress II – oil on canvas, 20 x 20, Kit Miracle

I have often painted series of paintings but this is the first time that I remember painting a pair of paintings.  The Huntress I and II are 20 inch square oil on canvas.  They both depict a young girl carrying a staff in the woods.  The time is a warm day in early spring.

My aim here was to create a bit of mystery, to simplify the background and the figure, and to play off the high intensity light without adding a harshness to the scene.

Here are the original photos which you can see do not depict the scene exactly in either one of them (or the many other photos that I took.) I am only going to present the set of steps for the first painting, The Huntress I, but both were painted at the same time, switching between the two works.

The first step was to create the drawing on canvas, turning the vertical photo into a square and adding the background.  As you can see, I changed the angle placement of the staff several times.

The Huntress I – step 1, sketch directly on canvas

I then washed the entire canvas in a neutral tone, leaving only the highlights and wiping out some other areas.  This technique somewhat emulates grisaille, painting the entire painting in grey.

The Huntress I – step 2, initial neutral tone wash

The next several steps were just applying layers of color, primarily working from back to front.  You can see how I simplified the trees, leaving out most of the brush.

The Huntress I – step 3, beginning to lay in colors

The Huntress I – step 7, nearly finished. Only need to tweak and add some details.

Some areas that gave me trouble were the placement of the girl’s hands on the staff in Huntress I.  I actually took several more photos and changed things around, all the while seeking a natural pose. In the end, I just moved her thumb onto the top of the staff.  I also changed the background colors of the hills in both paintings, intensifying the colors in one and muting the colors in the other.

In the end, each painting stands on its own merit but they really look best as a  pair.