Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Visitor

-By Rebecca Guay

Hi Everyone,

Some of you may have heard that my painting, "The Visitor", was chosen as the cover for the next Spectrum annual, which truly made my year!

I thought I'd share the process with you about how I went about making "The Visitor" piece.
Its fortunate that this just happened to be a painting I took step-by-step photos of!

I am often asked how I go about my process. Many people still think I work in watercolor , but I actually work in oils more often than not. This video will give you a quick synopsis of the full journey of the image.

I hope you enjoy the video! And please post questions if you have them, I'll try my best to answer them all!


  1. Hi Rebecca! thank you for this post! I find it very useful!

    Could you please explain to me how you start adding the color after finishing with the sepia values? I know it might sound like a very long and silly/confusing question and the answer might be very obvious, but it's just one thing I don't really understand: are the sepia values there more like a map to guide you on how to add the values of color later, or do they do all the value work themselves because they transpire from beneath the surface of color and the color is added in pure colors (as in you are not mixing it to get different values again)? Is it like in Photoshop when you do black-and white values and then paint with pure colors on another layer and put it on Overlay?

    Thank you!

    1. i add in my color usually thinly- with a medium- glazing up the depth with semitransparent layers.I dont know the pS technique you mention- but i hope this answers the question :)

    2. Congratulations on the cover spot, and thank you for the video - I always seem to get a lot out of glimpses into other peoples' processes.

      Rebecca, may I ask how long (approximately) you typically leave one of your glazes to dry? Is it a matter of hours or days? I'm just learning about glazing (and learning oils) and I'm curious about how long this painting took in total to create, taking into account the drying times. Sometimes it's hard to have to stop working and wait! :)


  2. Rebecca~ I really enjoyed the video. Have you considered doing a DVD on your process of painting? I, for one, would be interested in getting one. With the way you present the information and seeing the way you work I think it would be outstanding! Nicely, done! I really enjoy your work.

  3. Thanks Rebecca! You managed to pack so much info in 10 mins - crazy awesome. Love the way you keep the eyes as the darkest dark and build the skin tones slowly from that - it's beautiful.

  4. Congrats in the cover!! AND Thank you so much for this video. It was very helpful for me.

  5. Thanks, Rebecca! A couple of questions, though: what ground are you working on, and how big is this piece? Just beautiful. (I have that same painting of yours on my desktop!)

    1. im working on arches hot press watercolor block- drawing coated with matte medium- this is a small one only about 9x12- i usually work bigger

  6. How beautiful. Rebecca, I've admired your work for years, and this is a great insight. (Bonus: A voice to associate with your name!) I'll definitely have to acquire this year's Spectrum. But for now, I think I need to go paint.

  7. Congratulaton and thank you for this video! it's allways a pleasure to have the chance to glance at the work behind a piece like this!

  8. Hey Rebecca,

    When you're sealing your painting with galkyd does that serve as an alternative to a varnish or in addition to? Thanks for sharing a part of your process.

  9. Thanks for the process video. I find it very illuminating. It is also encouraging to see that even artists whose finished work seems immaculate have occasional "what was I thinking?" moments during the process.


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