I saw a fantastic presentation on Bouguereau yesterday afternoon over at the Grand Central Academy of Art... The speaker, Greydon Parrish, went over big B's working process, which consisted of the following steps:
1 Thumbnails / Gestures
2 Sketch- graphite or charcoal w/ chalk (generally from life, looked to be about 10-15 min.)
3 Color sketches in oil (small - around 4"x5")
4 Oil Studies (heads, hands, and other problematic areas, moderate to life-sized)
5 Cartoon (life-sized, contour lines, ready for transfer)
6 Scrubbed in oils on smooth surface (light ground, loosely roughed with bristle brush, directly to full color- no b&w underpaint)
7 Render Selectively ( focus to turn form and focus the detail on areas of import)
Listed like this, the notes don't reveal anything surprising. It's just a nice, logical way of working, and the man was thorough with everything he did. A lot of the interest for me was in looking at examples of the various stages, and there was something magical about actually seeing Bouguereau's thumbnail sketches.
One quote of Greydon's also stood out to me: "With all of this work, it would be odd that he wasn't right."
We all just need to paint more.
Also, here's part of a thing I was working on for Dominance War; I believe the deadline is still May 11th. I don't include it here in an attempt to relate to Bouguereau, I just dislike posts without artwork.