acrylic mixed media on board
When I received this commission for Trill in the Woods, I had a board cut to specifically fit in the cover of the antique music box it was intended for, gave it three coats of acrylic gesso, and used a fine sandpaper after each coat, and also coated the back to prevent warping.
The client had some very specific requirements, in fact three pages of them. He wanted a rocky hill to the right, a reverse "s" curve path, a small pond, the feeling of coming out of the woods, late summer flowers with a stand of sunflowers in the background, at a least a dozen birds, (I managed 10) cat tails in the pond and maybe a frog or two. He named the painting, too.
Since I rarely do this kind of painting, I began with my sketchbook, which I filled with birds and frogs and flowers, until I was comfortable with them. The original drawing on board was done with acrylic inks. I used my I usual methods, building the scene by carving in the lights and darks, and gradually bringing up the light. In this case it meant that the drawing came and went as well. In some cases I let it disappear, and in others re-drew to keep detail. The final stages were with a very small brush.
The requirements of this commission caused me much angst, but worth it when the client saw the painting and told me that I had "given him back a piece of his childhood." Phew.