I am trying out this prepainted background, like Monet used for his Magpie. The background is an experiment. I painted it with raw ochre and a little terre-de-cassel.

Dad is sitting in a chair behind our house.

Kept working on the face.

The base of the hair is grey (white+deep aquamarine blue+terre de cassel). I will lay in strands of white later. He still has a good head of hair at 86.

A quick sketch of the stone walls, and the basis of his yellow shirt.

I wanted the foreground plants to be a brighter green. I haven't found a combination of blues and yellows yet to get a bright green. The foreground is going to be bright yellow ocre and cadmium blue, the background, darker is zinc yellow and deep aquamarine which I just spread out on the canvas itself.

The background is deep aquamarine and zinc yellow, with a bit of red ocre.

Added in the stars and stripes, I will clean up the stars later. The blue is aquamarine and cadmium, the red is red ocre and vermillion, and the white is broken with a bit of blue.

I want the background plants to encroach on the window, so I had to paint it in. The frame is grey made from zinc white, a touch of aquamarine, and a touch of raw sienna, but mostly white. The black of the panes is made from terre-de-cassel and deep aquamarine blue. I painted some white to serve as the reflection, and added in a little bright yellow ocre to get a bit of green in the shadows.

The white flowers will become red. Red is a transparent color, so you need a white base to make the red itself bright. I added some white over the flowers on the shirt to add a brighter red (vermillion). I will then work on my Dad's hair, and put another plant in the right background.

Made the flowers red, added panes in the windows, another plant in the background, cleaned up the stars on the flag, did his hair.

Some final touches, softening the spot on the left forehead so it looks more like shading than a bruise, a yellow ball on top of the flagpole, tucking the left corner of the shirt in, and a bit more dark at the bottom of the background bush. I'll stop here. Merry Christmas, Dad!

Final product

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GREGORY GREFENSTETTE

Painter Portraitist Artist