Yesterday I started working on a watercolor study for my Alice piece. I might actually just finish the study and not bother with an oil painting right now, I'm not sure. I don't know if I will have time to paint her in oils, since the show/online auction are next week!
I sometimes struggle to decide on what colors to paint my pieces with, and I think it helps to have some visual references when choosing a palette. One of my favorite tools for this is my Winsor & Newton Watercolour: A Visual Reference to Mixing Watercolour Paints book. It's an old book I bought when I first started using watercolors, and I don't think it is still in print. You can still find it on Amazon - for twice what I paid almost ten years ago.
The book is meant specifically to go with Winsor & Newton watercolors, something that I happen to have! But I also use it as a guide when choosing oil palettes, even though I don't use W&N oils, and I have also scanned in these pages before and used them to set up swatches in Photoshop. You could make your own as well, but sometimes I like to just flip through the pages until a color palette strikes me as the right one for the piece I'm working on.
Normally I have a masonite panel that I put my paint on. Once I put my paint on it I write the name of the color below for easy mixing. This time I decided to try arranging the paint in a circle, similar to the layout of the book, but with all the colors arranged in one big circle instead of two smaller circles.
The main color for this particular palette - that is to say the color that all the other colors are mixed with - is olive green. I put that one in the center and then dragged a little bit of it out to the sides with my brush to mix my colors. To start the painting, I covered it in a thin wash of olive green and began layering my colors over the top. I really like the way the painting is turning out, and this has been a very helpful way of doing it since the painting has lots of different colors in it. They are all different but still unified since they are all mixed with varying amounts of olive green.
The study has been completed so far by simply scanning my original sketch and then printing it onto sturdy watercolor paper. Then I can apply paint over the top without worrying about ruining the original sketch and having to start over. I am not sure yet where I will go with this one, or when she will be done, but I'll keep updating here as I go along!