Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Guest Designer Trena Brannon: Diptych Portrait!

Hello Beautiful People! My name is Trena Brannon and I am both excited and honored
to be sharing my artwork with you all today!

I have a passion for color and a passion for people.  Ideas pop in and out of my mind all the time.
This one just popped in, in the middle of the night - which allowed me to use lots of color. :)

The first step was to prep the surface with gesso. I used an old credit card to lay down two thin coats of gesso.
NOTE: I allowed each layer dry before applying the next layer.  I identified some stencils, picked primary colors and used my handmade color chart to choose colors for my project. I knew I wanted to include a face in my design and drew one out.

Next, I added the first layer of color. For the cool side, I applied yellow and blue mixtures with an old gift card to give some texture and interest. I then used a baby wipe to pull some color out.
I repeated for the same process for the warm side with reds and yellows.

For the next layer, I used an open stencil to apply more color, and then rub some away in random areas with a baby wipe.

I continued building interest and depth with various stencils - using the whole stencil or only a portion.
I put in a border at the top to break up the design and also added some random gold goodness.

For the focal point, I drew in a face - half on each background. I gave her a large head-wrap to hold bright, luscious colors that spread across both backgrounds.  I used my little drawing for inspiration.

I further defined the drawing of her face and head wrap and then painted in her face. I used an acrylic matte paint mixture for the base of her face. I used pencils, black pens and white paint pens for details, as well as India ink markers on her lips and cheeks.

To give her head wrap dimension, I mixed acrylic paint with a heavy gel and spread it with a palette knife.

To integrate with the background, I used the same stencil I made the border with in her head wrap. Next, I went back in and added more detail to her eyes. To finish it off, I re-trimmed the black board around each frame.

The two sides can be displayed separately or together.

I had a wonderful time sharing with you! Thank you so much to StencilGirl for inviting me!!
Take care and STAY POSITIVE!
To learn more about Trena Brannon and her art, visit her blog at and her Facebook page at!

Stencils Used (click for more info):

Pebbles Layer Me Stencil by Carolyn Dube Mary Beth's Grid Stencils 

 Text and Texture Transform Stencil by Seth Apter It's a Small World Latitude Stencil by Mary C. Nasser

Imaginary Bird Feather Stencil by Rae Missigman


  1. Awesome tutorial and finished piece. Thanks for sharing this inspiring project!

    1. Thank you Jessica! I get so much inspiration from you/your artwork!

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you Sister!! I miss you! We have to find a class together!

  3. Well done Trena! Great tutorial and beautiful work.

  4. Gorgeous work Trena. Love the split between warm and cool colors - and the face crossing into both.

    1. Thank you Seth! I thought about you when I was working with squares - reminded me of working on the grid... "break that grid right now baby..." :)

  5. Love seeing this step by step and the layers building to such a gorgeous finished piece Trena!

  6. Love seeing this step by step and the layers building to such a gorgeous finished piece Trena!


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