I’ve been experimenting with oils recently and enjoying the results. In a lot of ways it’s more manageable than watercolours and inks. For instance it is more forgiving with corrections and I like working from dark to light for a change. Sketching directly onto gesso-primed MDF board felt more effective than stretched canvas (though I might try it in future, the criss-cross texture can be troublesome to draw on). I sprayed them with generous layers of matt fixative to seal the graphite from smudging, then using a piece of card I squeegeed a coat of acrylic matte medium to seal the sketch from the oil paint.
Using a rough mix of neutral grey, raw sienna and plain white acrylic paint I scrubbed in a tonal underlay, imprimatura, and waited for it to dry, wiping back the excess with paper towel. An accidental effect I liked was how the darker paint seemed to stay in the recesses left by the acrylic matte medium, with the lighter paint on the raised areas.
I chose to block in the sky around the warrior’s head first. Beneath the fairly light blue of the sky is a reddish-pink lay-in colour, to off-set the coolness of the blue given the rest of the image will be comprised of warm browns, sepias and maroon.
Next I’ll try to introduce a little bit of green to the shadows of the helmet, to offset the brown overload.