These are photos of my dad cleaning cod fish during the summer fishing season in Newfoundland, the most easterly province of Canada.
This design shown below is already in the composition of the original photo I took in 2012.
I will create a painting without changing much regarding the subject position and his focus.
The design of two paintings above are good examples of how the golden spiral or golden ratio is used in the design. Check the link here for an explanation Golden spiral or golden ratio
I am working on an homemade 20" x 16" cradled hardboard panel, which is not the ideal golden ratio which would be more like 26" x 16", an uncommon size. So, it is loosely overlaid on my photo to show how it relates. Its not a perfect design but close. The point where dad's right index finger ends is the main focus point, it is exactly at the 1/3 point both horizontally and vertically. It is also within the smallest square in the golden ratio design. The red lines in the photo show the power of lines and gaze of the subject to cause a reinforced focus at the one main focal point mentioned. That point could be called the epicenter of focus for the subject as well as the viewer.
I did my sketch directly on a gessoed panel which I made myself . I used a little blue pigment in the gesso. I will often use the texture of the gesso brush strokes to start layering in directional flow in a certain direction to create an early effect in building up the composition. I avoided texture in the face and body area because that would not work well when detailing the exposed body skin later.
Next I blocked in the background and inside space of the fish stage. In Newfoundland the fish stage is a building on a wharf/dock that is used to store boating and fishing gear. This old fish stage was built by my Dad and Grandfather many, many, years ago. It is very weathered and the original lime coating has long washed off. I love the texture of the clapboard and I used gesso to get that texture with a course brush. I use texture often to make certain things stand out and with acrylics thick gesso works well.
Continued blocking in base colors , trying to get a feel for color combos etc. In this painting I am using white, black, burnt umber, raw sienna, colbalt blue hue, naphthol red, yellow ocher, deep portrait pink, and cad yellow medium. There may be other small amounts of other colors I have missed.
In this painting line direction plays a big part in the composition. For example look at this sketch again and notice how the arrows help focus attention toward the main point of interest , perhaps the figure first ,then the knife and fish. The door frame lines, the eyes focused with laser precision, the posture, the arms, and even the direction of the clapboard and table support, all help to focus the viewers eye toward the figure and his main point of interest.
Below, I worked on getting some of the green background foliage. You can see the texture starting to be built on the clapboard.
Working on the shirt and pants fabric, shadows and highlights.
Worked on the face, ear, arms and hands below, attempting to get the likeness in the sketch before I add more layers of paint. I have to get it very , very close at this point.