Here's a series of photos showing the development of one of the figures in the mural. I begin to establish the lightest skin tones with a creamy mixture of white touched with cadmium yellow and napthol red, glazing it across the entire face very quickly with a broad brush. Plenty of acrylic matte medium is mixed with the paint to keep it translucent, so I can still see the sketch beneath. Click the images for close-up views.
Here I begin to establish basic shadows around the eyes, using napthol red, burnt umber and white. Generally I work the colors and values from light to dark, allowing the luminosity of the white ground to show through the paint layers.
I use a small flat to re-establish some of my sketch lines and lay in some of the darkest shadows. I always place some of the darkest values early on to help me key all the other values in the face as it develops. I've also used a #10 flat to broadly block in the planes of the face in simplest terms. It helps to squint while looking at the reference photo, to better see large shapes without being distracted by details.
With a mixture of ultramarine blue, magenta and white, I modify the right side of the face to suggest some cooler, reflected light. The cool tones keep the face from growing too "hot", making the skin colors more natural looking.
After the basic structure and broad forms have been established, I continue to refine the shapes and strengthen the darks, looking for more subtle details.
Using # 6 and #8 flats, I lay in the plaid shirt and suspenders. I try not to over-render this, since I'm more interested in retaining a painterly feel than in getting precise detail.
The step by step photos were taken at an angle, which distorted things somewhat. Here's a straighter view of the more or less completed figure. There are a few drawing issues I can see need correction, so there's still a little work to do. This spry fellow is Leo Plass, who graduated from EOU last year, at age 99!