Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Over the past few months, I had gotten a lot of questions from people who wanted to learn more about my painting process. So at the end of August, I posted my first demo about my “Devil's Trumpet” watercolor painting.

Now, instead of a flower, here’s a new painting that I would like to share with you.

First, I took a number of photos of an adorable child who was at the local farmers' market where I was showing my artwork. After chasing him around trying to get a good shot, he stopped for a moment, slowly looked behind him to see if I was still there, and I finally got the shot I had hoped for!

Once I had sketched the image of the boy from the photo onto heavy weight 300 lb Arches watercolor paper, I had to decide where I would have him standing in the painting. For me, the parking lot and Jeep just didn't work. In my mind, dressed as he was, the best setting would be in a cornfield.

I worked on the figure first, starting to roughly put in some details like the shirt, jeans, and shoes. I left the face only lightly filled in. For the hat, I put in jagged lines of a darker straw color to indicate its woven nature, with the suggestion of a hat band. However, before going too far, I wanted to create a sense of light and the feeling of a cornfield to help me maintain the goal that I was striving for.

I then continued to slowly work on the clothing, concentrating on the dark folds to give the shirt and jeans depth and dimension.

From there, I finished the preliminary painting and then started to fine tune it - most time-consuming part of creating an artwork.

There are many, many stages of this process that I will not be showing you because a lot of them are subtle. From the painting below, you can see that I had started defining the cornstalks, glazing (adding light washes of paint) to the clothing, and reworking the face, which I continued to do for quite some time. Although in the photo the light was actually coming from the back of the child , I wanted it to come from the front in this painting. Because of this, I had to darken the back of the child, putting shadows under his hat and lightening the front of his face and body. For the cornstalks, I added the tassels, but didn't want to make them as distinct as the child to give it a dreamy effect.

The process continued with adding shadows to the back of the hat and back of the shoes, as well as lightening the front of the shoes.

by Barbara Rosenzweig

The final steps involved a lot of tweaking. For the face, I corrected his eye and the shadows to show his rosy cheek and the light coming on it at the proper angle. It was also necessary to better define the ground the child is standing on, the corn stalks, and the dimples in his elbow. Adding more stalks farther in the background I hoped would give a sense that the cornfield might be a vast one.

So here it is, "Little Boy Blue in the Cornfield." What do you think? Do you have any questions that I haven't answered? Do you have any suggestions for other subjects that I should try?

Thanks for coming along on this painting journey with me!


  1. I love it your very good... Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment.

  2. That was cool. I enjoyed seeing the process. Thanks for the invitation!

  3. very good watercolours, Barbara : )

  4. Good morning, Barbara.
    I liked the original photo, but I can't even begin to imagine the processes involved in making this artwork.
    I will say though that it's pure perfection! All the tiny details make this painting very lifelike. You do indeed have a good eye & gifted hands.

    I bet if his parents could see what you've created it would bring tears to their eyes!

    Thanks for stopping by & directing me to this awesome piece of art.

  5. I love the process you have documented and the painting is beautiful!!!

  6. Wow that was very interesting ! I went back and reread it a few times and looking back and forth at the photos of the painting...Your are so so talented...and thanks for visiting my blog too...very nice of you to take the time.

    Happy Autumn to you !

    - KAT -

  7. Thanks for sharing your very interesting step-by-step processes. I love your amazing attention to detail...also love the warm shadows in this piece =) Kathryn

  8. Hey Barbara,

    That's really awesome!

    Kind regards,


  9. Wow, love the result! And to think, it was inspired by a cute little boy at the Farmer's Market. :)

  10. He is adorable. You have done a wonderful job.

  11. He is so cute. I really love your painting.

  12. glad to see how the art work revolves.

    well done.


  13. As always, Barbara, GOOD WORK! The little boy is so darling!

  14. Great job here, Barb, and you're right! The glazing process takes sooo long in painting to build up to the right color tonality. The littl eboy is adorable! andrea@townandprairie

  15. How fun to follow your process with you. Thanks for linking up to Share the Love Wednesday; hope you'll be back this week!

  16. I can't imagine being able to do what you do!

    Seeing the image in your mind and then being able to reinterpret it so gracefully...


    I like your style!


  17. Amazing Painting. Thanks for sharing.

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