• Valerie Nijssen

What Valerie Drew - The Process of 'Brittania'


Hi everyone!

I thought that it might be fun to take you all along and take a peek behind the process of creating my latest painting: Brittania. After all the journey is just as much fun as the destination!

The inspiration and the reference for Brittania actually came from her Majesty Elizabeth II. There is something magical and patriotic about the british monarchy and I feel like she is the perfect model to embody that eternal feeling. First thing I always do is laying out the essentials I need for a piece and I prime my canvas (this is a great way to build layers and to protect your paint on the canvas). Now usually you start with the background and then you work your way forward to the foreground, but I had no idea when I started this piece where I wanted to take it so I kind of went off base and started with a light sketch first.

As you can see first drafts are not that glamorous. Its all about builing layers with different shades and getting the skin tone right to a point where you are satisfied. In general the painting is quite flat looking at this point and lacking loads of shades.

A few hours and lots and lots of mixing later you can slowly see her face becoming more dynamic. It was at this point were I decided to make her more unrecognizable while trying to maintain the regal stature of her face.

Now when you have added the final layers to the face and when you start to move on to the hair that is when you will really see the painting taking form. At this point I started to doubt what I wanted for the background, I was even considering leaving it blank

I decided to go with a London themed background and chose the Big Ben and Westminster as the background to complete this piece. Though the background is quite abstract, I really like how it finishes this piece. 

I hope that gives you a bit of a insight as to how I work :)!


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