My first step, as usual, is a pale wash over the entire canvas – here, a cool blue. I brush it off with a dry, clean brush over the mountaintops, the smoke, Gandalf’s beard and face where the light hits.
Then I start painting the face. When everything around it is still so light, the reddish tones around eyes and nose often look totally overdone, but in the end, when everything else is painted as well, it’s hardly noticeable any more, so I often end up darkening it again after all.
Let’s have some more red. He looks drunk? Not for long. In the end, it’ll be just right.
Shading on the fine tips of hair and beard.
Shading and texturing on the scarf and cloak. I’ve brought out the eyebrows with a bit of gouache.
Texturing wood works best painting around the highlights of the wooden structure, and deepening the shades in and around the knotholes.