The very first idea may come from other painting, perhaps something that is lost in the memory and suddenly gets to the surface. I normally don’t seach for ideas, if they do not come naturally then I don’t dare to go ahead.

Here the initial trigger was a flow of color, patterns that repeat creating a rhythm. For that I used a photo reference with roses and the rest was playing with the ideas to improve the composition. I took notes at the beginning to keep in mind what I am looking for. Some of the ideas on the notes will go ahead, and others will vanish. Even when this is a digital painting I follow exactly the same process than with oil paints. The media is just a way to allow an idea to come to the material world, but the painting was there before. My task is to avoid the interferences between the idea and the material media.

Here it is the sequence of design steps I was following, in order of importance.

  • Composition
  • Form
  • Tone
  • Movement
  • Edges
  • Color
  • Texture

I’ll try to describe the process using those seven design elements. The first rough sketch shows the initial position of elements and several decisions that I choose in order to create harmony and integration.

This is the initial color step. Really not interested in color at this stage, in fact most of the time I work with a B&W image all the way till the very last steps where I add color. Here instead, I started to add some color with abstract shapes.


Here I have started to take some composition decisions, the position of the main elements is fixed, and there are some patterns of tone that will be maintained to the very end.


Here I sacrificed more work on the background and defined the roses a bit more. At this stage even if I work on some details I know that many of them may disappear at the end in favour of harmony, so I avoid spending too much time on details.


The picture above is the initial execution of rhythm on color, shape, and most importantly: tone. All must work together as a whole. Many edges have to be redefined in order to create the illusion of depth of each shape.


Many of the shapes must be altered in position, edges and color. Some of them will merge together smoothly, some others will be transformed into flow patterns. At this stage I work with the painting upside down. I focus on the tone balance and how the light flows, I keep this focus till the very end.


This is the last stage. I add some more details and flow patterns to enhance the language of the painting. At this point the time of painting is small compared to the time thinking. It is important to observe the painting in black and white to check the tone without the distraction of color. I do this every ten minutes.

I rotate the canvas, put it upside down and merge or enhance edges, accentuate shapes and make subtle changes of tone. Lastly I add texture in some locations as a final step.