When I'm ready to go in my studio and paint, I won't begin until I have something to drink (today it's ice water) and some music playing on Pandora (I had Fade into You by Mazzy Star trapped in my head all day, so I decided to tune it to their artist station). I need a water cup filled halfway and a primed surface ready to push paint around on. I normally prime my raw canvas with a little of a certain color mixed into my gesso.
For this piece in particular, I sketched out a very basic (and slightly inaccurate) profile silhouette in a pastel pink. With my Decorators, I have been afraid to address things like hair and suggesting value and contrast and placing my oceanic forms in a way that would make sense with the shape and contours of a human face. So I'm going to try to work through those things this time around.
My first shape was of coral. I placed it so that it is suggestive of hair crowning the skull. The layer of paint is thin, so another layer or two is needed to flatten it up. I then added the shape of full lips but with my signature tentacle things emerging from the mouth. Two strokes of paint are starting to define the area of the nose.
I decided to make this figure's eye very Cleopatra. Long lashes will later be added to that area. I used the same color to add a nostril and a couple round ovals along the chin.
Next I mixed a light peach color and painted a collected area of circles and went back over the mouth tentacle flaps. The background is starting here.
Here I added the eye (shaped like a crab's of course) and stuck on a couple of coral pieces while my brush was wet with that particular shade.
More images are to come, but this gives you a rough idea of how I think during the opening stages of a Decorator painting.