K. Henderson: Her Techniques

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K. begins her paintings by simply toning her surface with a thin wash of raw sienna. Once dry, she transfers her drawing from tracing paper onto the painting surface. This example image is from day two of her painting. Using white and raw umber, K. produces an underpainting to render her lights and darks. This technique is known as Grisaille.

K.’s technique can be summed up on one word: layers. In this photo, K. placed a thin layer of a neutral gray on the background. The raw sienna still shows through, which is a desired result when painting in thin layers. In this image, K. made some drawing adjustments and began to define and add details to the objects.

Here, K. detailed the wood background. With that, her underpainting is complete and the glazing (several thin layers of paint added one at a time) begins, starting with the red on the scarf and the yellow on the ribbon. Additional details were added to the paper as well.

Red, a favorite color of K.’s, is beginning to illuminate itself in this image along with the yellow ribbon as she continued to glaze both. Regarding the paper, she covered it with a thin layer of white and will return to the details later. Most of Howdy Doody’s clothing is also glazed.

Before moving on, one lesson in glazing: K. favors Liquin, a fluid used to thin down buttery paint, as her medium. Only a small amount is necessary for transparent colors like viridian and ultramarine blue. A little more Liquin is needed for semi-transparent colors like many earth colors. Opaque colors cannot be used as a true glaze.​​​

Once all is glazed and luminous, K. adds her details. In this image, the details of the paper, strings for the puppet, and the Howdy doll have all been added.

One last detailed shot of the final painting.