How to create a surrealism painting

How to create a surrealism painting

Inspiration

Here is how the idea for the painting A Peace Of The Mind (and triptych series) arrived. I had been studying and drawing a lot of hands for previous paintings, as you can see on the board below. I enjoyed doing this, and surprisingly, the thing that was really exciting to me about hands in a piece of art, is how much emotion they can convey. I felt this click for me when I was doing the preliminary sketches for my Forgiving Medusa painting. I wanted hands to be a main part of the painting in a display of frustration. A piece that came shortly after Forgiving Medusa was Divinity, a painting of a white rose in flames, symbolising rebirth. At first I was just going to paint the flower and the flames, but I felt that a human essence was missing, so I added in the hand holding the rose (a human embracing their rebirth). I can't tell you how into drawing and painting hands I became after those pieces, so it is no wonder it led me to this painting a series of hands.

I was on one of my walks and the idea of exploring different hand symbols came to me. I continued to walk and in my head appeared a triptych series, these consisted of the hand gestures for peace, yoga, and meditation. I arrived back from my walk, grabbed a sketchbook and noted these down.

Forgiving Medusa & Divinity painting

Forgiving Medusa & Divinity Painting

The Process

Once I had my inspiration for the three paintings, I began sketching. You can see on the board below how I sketch out my ideas. They start out pretty loose, so I can get the feel and composition right. Once I have that, I make final sketches that are more rendered, which is what I use for my reference when painting. I decided that the first piece I wanted to paint out of the three, was the hand symbolizing peace. To choose my colour palette I head over to pinterest ( I absolutely LOVE this part!), where I will usually spend about an hour pinning images with colour palettes I love. From my pinterest board, I make a colour mood board, which is what I will use for my painting. This stage is honestly so much fun, and I find it really exciting to envision the painting in different colour palettes and moods so I can choose the right one. I now have my idea sketched out in front of me as a reference, and my colour mood. Now it's time to get the paints out, which is usually when I'm most excited to start painting and seeing the idea start to come to life.

Hand study sketches

Hand study sketches

Colour & Mood

Colour & Mood

What I used

The wood panel I used as my canvas is MDF from B&Q, this comes in large pieces that are about A1 in size. B&Q have a free cutting service, so I get the wood cut to A3 pieces. The next stage is to sand and gesso the wood, I used three coats of Liquitex clear acrylic gesso, sanding between each coat. Then I transfer my drawing onto the wood panel. To do this I re-draw my reference to fit the canvas size, in this case A3, then I use an 8B graphite pencil and colour in the back of this drawing. I then place the drawing on top of the wood panel and use a H pencil (which is nice and strong led so you can add a lot of pressure without the lead breaking) and trace over my drawing, which transfers the drawing onto the wood panel because of the layer of graphite on the back of the paper. The paints I used are artist acrylics, which I mix with water. I have a real mixed bag of brands, but the ones I like the most are: Jackson's own artist acrylic paint and Daler Rowney System 3. I do not use expensive paint brushes for acrylic painting because from my personal experience, it just doesn't make a difference, and I actually quite enjoy a broken in, 'battered' paint brush, as you can get some really interesting textures. I also used a couple of palette knives for adding in some of the texture, these are Winsor & Newton. Once the painting is finished I like to use Gamblin satin varnish.

 My creative space

The last thing I want to share is the creative space I was in whilst making this painting, to create your art you really only need a few simple tools like your pencil, paper, paints, canvas, and in my opinion a nice cozy environment. The music I was listening to the most was Florence & The Machine, and the latest album by London Grammar, it is so incredibly chilled and atmospheric! My new snack was CBD gummies and the coffee I was drinking was Columbian jazz by Iron & Fire. I was super comfy in my own organic yoga bee tee and studio was filled with the aroma of sandalwood incense.

My creative space

So, that's story time for my latest painting finished, I do hope you enjoyed it and if you would like to watch a video of process you can on my YouTube channel here! If you like this kind of behind the scenes art content then please sign up to my mailing list, you'll get arty updates and story time like this sent right to your inbox woohoo! and if you enjoy the watching the painting process with a cuppa, or a cocktail depending on what time of day is is then please subscribe to my YouTube channel. 

 Me Painting

That is all for now, sending you all the love,

The Green Fox xxx