Sneak Peek: The Evolution of A Painting - HBC Skull

IN THE STUDIO: Often I photograph a painting at the end of each day. Sometimes I do this for reference, for review and even for documentation. Rarely do I show the entire process. This is a first, a peek behind the curtain, if you will. This is the evolution of 'HBC Skull', painted in 2013 for inclusion in my solo show #ICONICCANUCK in Edmonton, Alberta. The bear skull in the painting is all mine and was eventually used in a mixed media piece. The painting makes reference to the Hudson's Bay Company stripes, the maple leaf and of course the black bear. The piece also references Georgia O' Keefe's paintings, whose work I have admired since I was a small child. The piece took 12 days to paint with an additional two days to paint the edges of the piece. Here is the day-to-day progress in photos.

Day 2: fleshing out the skull in a monochrome underpainting or grisaille layer

Day 2: fleshing out the skull in a monochrome underpainting or grisaille layer

Day 3: layering in detail in the open mouth area

Day 3: layering in detail in the open mouth area

Day 4: continuing to paint from the centre out

Day 4: continuing to paint from the centre out

Day 5: creating shadowing

Day 5: creating shadowing

Day 6: adjusting all over shadow tones and light

Day 6: adjusting all over shadow tones and light

Day 7: layering in colour on top of underpainting

Day 7: layering in colour on top of underpainting

Day 8: more colour more depth

Day 8: more colour more depth

Day 9: a diffusing top layer that allows previous shadowing to penetrate slightly - working the angles and the light

Day 9: a diffusing top layer that allows previous shadowing to penetrate slightly - working the angles and the light

Day 10: beginning to finish and apply those signature touches - drawing out a maple leaf on skull - a lot of contemplation from my studio chair at this point.

Day 10: beginning to finish and apply those signature touches - drawing out a maple leaf on skull - a lot of contemplation from my studio chair at this point.

Day 11 : detailing the maple leaf, overall fine tuning and evening out shading

Day 11 : detailing the maple leaf, overall fine tuning and evening out shading

Day 12: fine tuning the finish and overall balance of colour and light

Day 12: fine tuning the finish and overall balance of colour and light


Day 1: loose drawing on canvas and laying base layers of colour

Day 1: loose drawing on canvas and laying base layers of colour