Ella Masters : My painting process


I don’t paint as often as I would like, practically never now that I juggle a lot of other more pressing commitments, but its always nice to share with people how I work, everyone has their own way of working/style ans technique.


So to begin with I draw directly on the canvas with a mechanical pencil, then I paint with acrylics onto the canvas (watered down as to have more overall control), I always do an
under coat of green, because the one thing i have learn’t from studying
art my whole life is that our skin colour isn’t just one colour it is a
mixture of all different colour hues and tones, I find green warms the
skin tone (try using a warm green to start off with and layer in the shadow areas).  I use System three paint nothing fancy, you can buy the Acrylic sets in any hobby or art store.


Next came the painting of the beard, I do love painting in detail I do
love a challenge, I use Daler and Rowney brushes normally, a 2 and 6
round, for the fine detail, (I have a crazy extensive brush collection
 due to once being a fine art student and having a wonderful second
cousin who use to be a well known artist who likes to occasionally send
me his antique art bits and bobs) tools are really important for creating a good piece of art work nothing too fancy is needed. It is vital to work on layers and take your time.


Like I spoke about earlier, when it comes to the acrylics, i use a mixture of pound shop
quality to rather expensive colours, I personally don’t think it matters
what you use as long use them properly (well when i say properly i mean
don’t go crazy with them) there is no right or wrong way to paint. You can lay them on thickly or as thinly as you like, I water mine down a lot so I can get maximum control over the canvas as Acrylic paint drys pretty quickly The way in which I paint with acrylics is pretty similar to how i paint
with watercolours, (and stains clothes) layer them up is very important for creating depth. I do often
get asked how I paint, and the process in which I use, I’ve never really
been all that confident when it comes to painting onto canvas, I only
started to paint onto canvas when I went to uni, because everyone on a
fine art course does, I decided to get involved and the evidence is now
hanging at home on the walls of our downstairs loo so many canvases!

Lets talk canvases, I don’t stretch my own, never really have just due to the fact i’m rather messy and useless when it comes to that. I like to work small, so I go for square or rectangle canvases as I like these best, they come primed ready to paint and you can get these from any hobby/art store. 

So the next step was to paint the tattoos on, once again layering the
colours up, this is where I get really worried and mess up what I have
already completed, I get to excited and go a little over the top I am
still yet to learn enough is enough! Take your time when painting if you aren’t feeling it step away from the canvas and come back to it a few days later. Have the confidence in your own skills thats whats really important.

I hope this gives you lovely lot an insight into my little working
process, I’m not the best at explaining but its always nice to share
what I do.

I have written a few more tutorials before here on Ella



  1. December 18, 2014 / 10:46 pm

    I haven't painted in over a year and I really miss it. This post is making me want to break out the paints and canvases again! I've never tried using a colour like green before even attempting the skin colour; it's a great tip so I better remember to try it. Knowing my luck it'll pop into my head when I'm halfway through the painting.

    Raise The Waves

  2. December 19, 2014 / 1:49 pm

    Wow you're really talented! So interesting to read about your technique, especially about using green for skin first, thanks for sharing! Hope you're having a good day 🙂
    Hannah x

  3. December 21, 2014 / 3:22 pm

    your painting skill is amazing never thought to water down acrylic i usually just apply it how it is. I also would have never thought that you apply green to begin with and the detail in that beard and tattoos is amazing makes me want to paint

    Fashion and Beauty Tribes

  4. December 21, 2014 / 5:15 pm

    I can completely relate to the feeling of getting excited and then taking a painting over the top! I tend to paint very detailed as well, making it easy to always want to add just one more thing 🙂 Thanks for posting your process, I love little peeks into other artist's worlds!

  5. January 2, 2015 / 5:24 pm

    Amazing… beautiful painting.. and very nice writeup…:)

  6. Anonymous
    May 21, 2015 / 11:59 am

    I've seen the original drawing of this before, my friend made a pen and ink drawing as part of a series of men with beards- so this isn't originally by you??
    5th one along??

    • May 24, 2015 / 8:00 pm

      hi anon thanks for your message, this is actually painted from an original photo of ricki hall so basically we have both just used the same reference photo of ricki he approved of the painting. this is an old post form years ago this is an original painting by me thanks

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