Large Mongoose Painting

After completing the charcoal base values, which took about 2 weeks in total, I was then able to proceed with the painting portion of the work. Once the values had been liberally sealed so they wouldn’t smudge, I applied a heavy gel medium over the whole canvas with what I like to refer to as my “magic brush.” Gel medium is a thick paste like paint medium lacking pigment. It gives great texture and dries clear showing the value underneath. My magic brush is just a simple flat 1 inch painter’s brush that I have used to apply gel medium for years. At this point, the brush is so caked with hardened gel medium, it is now really just about 50 thick, spike-like collections of bristle groups that I can use to get the pronounced swirls in the gel medium covering my canvas. I have occasionally applied the gel medium to reinforce aspects of the subject matter but more often I apply a simple, overlapping swirl pattern to keep a consistent look between my works.

Once the gel medium has been applied and has dried, I lay in my base shadow colors with an acrylic wash of pretty watery paint. After that is done, I acrylic wash in my base colors. I will usually do this stage with the canvas flat so the paint doesn’t run and just pools into the valleys in my swirling texture. Moving forward, I hand mix my paints to layer in complexity and nuance into the painting color work. Once completed, the painting is almost done. I will often push in the shadows darker and layer in lighter illuminated areas and highlights. In a final pass, I will dry-brush areas to help reinforce the heavy texture, brushing in lighter values across the peaks of the gel medium texture.