Aleksandra Bzdzikot




Creation of "Lea" - step by step canvas painting

Today I wanted to share with you valuable insights on how to make a woman portrait on canvas.


Last weekend was very productive for me, as from early morning hours I woke up with inspiration and power to create something. As I had an unpainted brand-new canvas, I decided to use it wisely.


Sometimes I wake up with an idea or invincible power to create. I think we, human beings, are very gifted in terms of our creative powers. We can create everything we want, we have great ideas and we can turn our dreams into reality. I am always thankful to other artists out there, be it movie directors, painters, musicians or photographers. They provide me with lots of inspiration and emotions, that trigger the most beautiful in us, humans.


With such a fire to create I woke up early last Saturday. Some of you may find it extreme or unusual to wake up before 6:00 am on a Saturday - the day when you don't have to go to work, but for me, this is the best time to create. To pursue my mastery.


Before my "Lea' looked like this, I needed to go through certain stages, which I would like you to guide you through.





Some artists don't ever sketch on a canvas. Not to mention the fact that it's not easy due to the canvas surface and the eraser simply doesn't work in case you want to cross out a mistake or change the shape of the lips :)

I also encountered this problem while sketching "Lea". However, for me, a preliminary sketch works perfectly, especially when I want to paint a woman with the details like face characteristics. After I have done a pencil sketch of the lines of the face, I feel more certain with putting the paint on.





Painting on a canvas is a complex process. Naturally, it depends on what would be your painting subject. Here, it is a woman. Therefore, I start painting with putting the background color.  If you want to make a one-color background you just need to paint the background in one color.

In my case, I wanted the background to be inter-dimensional, with different colors delicately shining through like the sun shines through the leaves of the tree. 


At first, I painted the canvas in white and light pink, later on I added some blue and apricot colors. Take notice that I also painted the face of the woman at the same time that I painted the background. I used two types of brushes - one the so-called flat and the other more pointy.





Before I come down to this stage I leave the painting to dry for about 20-30 minutes. It's essential to let the first layer of the paint dry so that later on it will not mix with the next strokes of the brush. Here, you can clearly see that I started with painting the hair and the facial features were actually the last thing that I painted.

I applied the same painting rule as with the background. I put layers - first the lighter colors like siena and brown and then I finished with highliting the details of the face with red and dark pink. 




The last thing that I worked on was the background. I wiped it out with tissues to have a more blurred effect, as if a woman is seen through a mist or appearing from some space. 




Canvas is the tool to tell a certain story, to convey feelings to the viewer. When you are painting ask yourself a question: What feelings do I want to convey in my painting? What kind of story will it tell? 

Usually, the story is hidden within the details like the look in the eyes, the invisible smile like the one on Mona Lisa's or something else you put in the painting.

Of course, not everybody will notice these small details, but at least you can arouse the imagination of the viewers.


I must say I am quite happy with the achieved result. It was a perfect wake-up practice that charged my batteries for the whole day.




Hope you like my "Lea" and that my painting hints were of value to you.


See you next time,



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