A Glimpse of my Painting Process
A lot of people ask how I paint my pieces so I wanted to share with you a bit about my painting process! Honestly, a new project can feel a bit overwhelming at first but I find breaking it up into smaller steps really helps.
First I figure out what I even want to paint haha. I’m usually inspired by places I’ve traveled to or want to visit. I’ll scroll through the folder on my computer filled with pictures of all the amazing places I’ve visited (mostly in Europe). And if I need more inspiration, I’ll go to Pinterest and look through its wide variety of gorgeous travel photos.
Today I chose the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral which is one of the most popular landmarks that defines Sofia, Bulgaria (which is where I grew up!). It’s such a beautiful building, inside and out, located right at the heart of downtown. As an artist, I find the building itself fascinating because it looks different from every angle so there are lots of fun perspectives to capture.
Once I decide on the perfect photo, I’ll do a quick pencil sketch to outline the basic shapes and general proportions. It usually looks a bit sloppy haha but I try to have fun with it and just let the rough draft be a little messy.
Then I start refining the shapes to look more accurate to the photo I’m referencing. This is my favorite part! I LOVE the challenge of drawing what I see and adding in all the little details, it’s just so fun! I can lose track of time when I do this, especially if I’m listening to my favorite music or an intriguing podcast.
Once the pencil sketch is done, I usually go over my pencil marks with a pen. This part is pretty easy since I’m basically tracing everything. I like using pen ink in my paintings because I feel like it helps contain the watercolors and expose the details in a unique way.
Next I start painting! I actually have mixed feelings about this part of the process haha. I love it at the beginning because I feel excited to be creating something new with so much potential and adding in colors really brings the piece to life! I enjoy mixing basic colors together to create new ones as well as playing around with different techniques to add a variety of textures to help the piece feel more realistic.
I basically fill in the white spaces with paint while referencing my original photo. I add several layers starting with the lightest colors and working towards darker shades.
But I also ALWAYS reach a point where I have spent a lot of time painting and it’s not turning out like the photo. I get really frustrated and all these thoughts go through my head like “this was a bad idea”, “it’s not working out”, “it looks so ugly”… and I’m tempted to just give up on it. This literally happens every single time I paint! Sometimes I’ll take a break and come back to it later but what I’ve discovered is that if I just keep working on it a little more, it usually turns out ok! So I have to remind myself during those frustrating times to not let those negatives thoughts determine the outcome and just embrace them as part of the process.
So that's pretty much my painting process! What do you think? Do you have any other questions about it or is there anything else you want to know? I'd love to hear your thoughts! Just comment below.
And if you're interested in hanging this piece on your wall or gifting it to a friend, you can find it here.