Flaming Jade coming to the finish, contemporary art, underwater figurative painting

Flaming Jade, the contemporary art piece I’ve been working on is just about finished I believe.   I may tweak it a bit more as I move on to others, but it is definitely getting the feel I have been looking for.  I think that there is just no rushing a piece, you have to just keep evolving with the painting.  There is a process to painting as you delve into the work you see more and more.  It is always amazing to me how much my mind controls what I see and how controlling my mind, i.e. telling it what to focus on achieves different levels of seeing. For example when I start out my focus is on-line overall shapes and design or composition, so that is where the focus is.  I can’t really see all the things that will eventually be important as I develop the piece. I can’t necessarily see the nuance of line while I am doing the broad overall shapes, or the subtle shading that will eventually form the eye, or that nuanced tone creating those high cheek bones nor the point of light that will form the shoulder.  Each layer of work reveals new things and this is the difference between the artist and the photographer.   Nothing against photographers but an artist  delves, an explorer of the nuanced and brilliant together.  The inner world of the artist’s mind in combination with the outer world.  You see not only the subject but the feelings the artist has about the scene the back and forth to find that nano-nuance that tells the story.

In addition, this is the first set of works employing the costume. With this piece I hand stitched ruffles, a lot of ruffles, not in an attempt at high couture but to tell the story in movement, color and reminiscence of the ruffles of the Flamenco.  The pose tells the story of the pride and strengths of women, fiery, fierce and in control.   This is just the beginning of costume as an aid to story telling  about which I’m really jazzed, because it adds so much dimension of the final work.  See the short film taken of the final piece below.

You will notice that there is variance between what you can get with photos vs video again dslr vs tablet lens but I thought it was worth showing two different versions so that you could realize how different the visuals are.  I will be upgrading the photos shortly with my professional camera white balanced for tungsten light with the color space for printing which other than seeing work in person will be the best representation since I calibrate by eye the print compared to the original.


Mixing Color Blending technique.

I’ve been working with overlaying cool colors and warm back and forth to arrive at the proper balance of value form and color.  This is new for me but not new for me as well.  In landscape painting, I often mixed colors and painted impasto one shot brushwork because well in plein air work your time is very limited to get the essence of your subject and to record what you are seeing.   The studio work gives you the option of experimenting with how you blend and how you use color to create the forms and values of your painting.  You can play with it a bit more.  Layer upon layer.  so in this piece I experimented quite a bit with layering and grading the color gradually one over the other until there was a gradation of tone but also a blending between areas and still popping color.  This was more important in the skin tones than anywhere else because the dress was so high key with spots of pure cadmium red and orange as well as a dramatic pick up of colors throughout the painting in the sky.

Year’s ago I wrote a book on mixing colors using warm blues and cool blues opposite one another.  Warm reds vs cool reds and purer yellows vs grayer yellows.    I also used translucent colors vs opaque colors within a primary.  So using the mixing of colors with the translucent layers over the opaque and the cooler mixes of secondaries vs the warmer mixes I was able to import my use of plein air colors onto the portrait.  Now to travel fully down the arms and hands in like manner and finish the dress furls.

Working on the portrait of Flaming Jade

Working on the #portrait Flaming Jade. #oilpainting #contemporaryart #collectorart #underwaterportraitpainting #underwaterfigurativepainting #deborahchapin #womenpaintingwomen WIP Underwater portrait figurative-art painting by Deborah Chapin
Working on the #portrait Flaming Jade. #oilpainting #contemporaryart #collectorart #underwaterportraitpainting #underwaterfigurativepainting #deborahchapin #womenpaintingwomen WIP Underwater portrait figurative-art painting by Deborah Chapin


I had a lost day when my mum decided to try leaping through the air. Gravity interceded. Anyway, I’m back to the easel and working on the portrait of Jade along with the left arm, top etc. I took a video but I didn’t realize that the angle was odd so it was a no go. Will try again.   So here’s a pic of the start today.   It is very interesting the differences between what an SLR Canon takes and my little tablet. This thing highlights wet paint.  I think it is trying to interpret which if it wouldn’t do that I could actually get the tones.  Can’t believe that computers will be better at driving when they can’t see.    Red seems to be a particularly difficult color to pick up, that shouldn’t be any problem in driving eh?   At any rate I just keep layering cross hatch style cool over warm, warm over cool grazing in between until the right gradation arrives. Finishing the dress and right arm and then we are down to the details.


Working on the hands, contemporary underwater art – Flaming Jade by Deborah Chapin

I worked on the background laying in texture, color and patterns overall, and that is still setting up but I decided to go ahead and work on Jade’s hands and arms in this contemporary underwater art piece, which for the moment I’m call “Flaming Jade”.  First layer of work.  Under laying tones here.  There seems to be a little glare on the canvas that was picked up by the camera, but you can get the gist.



“Holding Up the Sky” another layer done. Book of Water Project

So, this is where I’m up to on “Holding up the Sky” piece.  I have to let this layer set up and dry  so I’ll be working on my Jade’s piece tomorrow bringing it up to the same level then back and forth until they done.  Getting there. Lots of work to do yet.   Stretching a new canvas… Next!