painting process

Prior to starting a painting I spend a great deal of time thinking about and developing the composition which is such a key part of the creative process. The following images summarise the process that I follow. In this case the painting is made using acrylic paints on mdf board. Clicking on each image will show a magnified version of the painting so that it is clearer to see the painting develop (for example, in the first image it is possible to see the 4 by 4 pencil grid that I use to position the main elements of the painting.)  
Stage 1: I like to start by covering all white areas as quickly as possible. I want to record the main shapes and tones of the painting quickly. This gives me some idea of how well the composition is going to work.   Stage 2: Now I am starting to develop some more detailed shapes often by intensifying dark surrounding areas 'negatively'. Stage 3: Here further definition of shapes is going on and also the introduction of highlights which start to bring a picture to life very quickly. I try to resist over defining - less is definitely more! (note pushchair) Stage 4: The final painting has a coat or two of matt varnish which I find can bring a bit more intensity to acrylic colours as they can sometimes 'die'.