On my teacher Ulan Moore’s advice, I began by preparing birch panels for all ten triptychs before beginning the portrait process.
The preparation began with cutting a large sheet of birch plywood into the central and side panels.
Next I gessoed all the panels, front and back, to prevent warping.
Then the preparatory sketches for the arches and columns that surround the portraits and the calligraphy in the side panels.
Next, paint the arches and columns. The middle area of the central panel is left unpainted for the portrait. The middle area of the side panels is prepared with a background for the calligraphy.
As of December 5th, all 10 triptych panels are painted and ready for portraits and calligraphy. Whew!