Tuesday, November 4, 2014

I wanted my second piece at SmArt School to be based on the book Stardust by Neil Gaiman. I wanted to paint the character, Yvainne (a fallen star). I wanted her to appear otherworldly, like her hair and dress were being pulled back up to the night sky. I also wanted to show the silver chain that was used to hold her captive for a time by Tristram. I showed some quick thumbnails to Rebecca to have the idea approved. 

 She recommended I work on the flow of the composition and gave the following examples:

I went crazy with the thumbnails to see what I could come up with. I narrowed it down to three that I felt were the direction I wanted to go (1, 2, & 17) and showed those to Rebecca. We decided to go forward with #2.



I put together some frankensteined reference using my head and arms, some random photos for a torso (I'm pregnant so I couldn't use mine!) and an assortment of blowing dresses.  I distorted the figure reference by elongating the neck and arms and even the fingers to get the form I wanted. 

My husband gave me some feedback and helped me come up with the idea that embers or fire were coming off her hair. So, I was playing with having her hair look like it was glowing and a little on fire with burning bits floating off, kinda like a shooting star. Rebecca recommended I simplify the chain element so that it didn't compete with the hair. So it would wind up her arm and past her up to her hair, instead of going off in some other direction.

I drew over it on the computer so I could pick out what was important to me and leave out the rest.

I decided to make the painting 15x22". So, I printed out the digital drawing that size, I had to do it in pieces and taped it together. I then, used transfer paper to transfer the basic composition and lines to my drawing paper so I wouldn't lose the nuances of the composition I had worked out on the computer. Then I drew the whole thing by hand looking at my photo reference on the computer and stylizing the drawing further as I went. 

I showed it to Rebecca and she recommended some small changes to the body by narrowing the shoulders and the waist and widening the hips to give a more feminine form. She also recommended more fullness in the skirt to balance out the hair. Below is the final drawing with the corrections:

My value studies, we went with the one bottom right corner: 

I mounted my drawing onto a 3/16" plywood board with matte medium, then started painting values  in acrylic paint in muted browns. While I was working on my underpainting I painted over a photo of my drawing to do some color studies. I tried a variety of color palettes, but I wasn't feeling right or certain about any of them.

Then my underpainting was finished, shown below:

I took a picture of it and then used it to make even more color studies. After my husband saw them he decided to try playing with the colors on one of them and came up with some interesting options. Then I played with the ones he had played with and came up with the large one, below:

I love what comes out when my husband and I have some back and forth about a piece of art that I am working on! So working from that, I glazed in my colors in oil paint over my acrylic underpainting.  The face lost the look of the drawing during the painting process and I had to paint it out, redraw it, and paint it again. I showed it to Rebecca, she suggested a few minor tweaks and here is the finished painting:

It came out much more blue than the color study (the photo of the painting is even more blue when compared to the original painting), but I'm still very happy with how it turned out.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

SmArt School so far

I signed up For SmArt School earlier this year. There were many great artists to chose from but, since you only get to pick one, I signed up for Rebecca Guay's class. You also get to monitor one other artist's class, I ended up going with Scott Fischer. Class started in September and we were given our first assignment a week or two before class so we would have something to show Rebecca during class. She gave us some interesting photographic portraits to draw from so that she could see where we were at in our skill level. In spite of the fact she also said we could use the reference as "a leaping point" I took that to mean adhering to the reference as closely as possible. So here is what I sent her:

So other than randomly adding antlers to the girl. I followed what was in the photos pretty strictly.
Rebecca worked right on top of the one on the left in Photoshop and talked to me about distortion and stylization, so next I came back with this:

And also we talked about color studies based on other artists' paintings we liked.

So we picked the second study on the bottom and I did an underpainting in acrylic...

And then, continued painting in thin glazes of acrylic colors to slowly build up the color without losing the drawing and values. I brought what I thought was a finished painting and Rebecca made a few suggestions on how to resolve the painting completely. They were really tiny adjustments but made a huge deference! So here is the finished result below:

It's great to watch the critiques of all the students in class. Seeing everyone's ideas and work is very inspiring. Scott Fischer also has so great input for his students and has some good information for working in Photoshop as well as in traditional media.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

I have really wanted to paint a portrait for a while now. Well I have finally done it. Next time, remind me not to use gouache though. I thought it would make for easier clean up- and it did. But man! It is ridiculous to make good color and value transitions! I already knew this, but I went ahead and did it anyway. If you have ever used gouache you know what I am talking about. The value changes as it dries. The darkest colors get lighter, the lightest colors get darker, and everything in between shifts too! well some how I got through it and came out with a decent looking piece. Not a perfect representation of my oldest son, but it's  pretty close. I particularly like how well the ear turned out. Below is the drawing under all that paint.

My trip to Barcelona and Copenhagen

I went on a trip with my husband to Barcelona and Copenhagen. It was such fun! The two places sound random but we were piggy backing off of his business trip. So we only had to buy flight tickets for me. It was amazing to explore the streets of Barcelona. The Museums were awesome- there was a chocolate museum! The tickets were chocolate bars! (note the gift bag in the above picture: it's full of chocolate) Both Barcelona and Copenhagen had a lot of bikes but Copenhagen had more, hands down. Copenhagen was covered in bronze statues. I particularly loved the Assistens Kirkegard in Copenhagen, it was a park and a cemetery rolled into one (I love cemeteries, more particularly old ones). Hans Christian Andersen's grave was there. By the way, I was happy in both places in spite of the fact that I am not smiling in the first picture!

I could go on, of course, but I really just want to share my sketchbook pages. 
Click on the pictures to view them larger.


I like bottles…

Near the Arc de Triomphe

 View from the room we were staying in while in Barcelona.

Just a pretty street with a place to sit.


Direct painting (drawing with my brush)

I love this one. The colors are nice

I flew home a week before my husband  (business trip, remember), so I had a long flight home with no one to talk to. So I drew! And they are all done with just a Bic Pen. I was pretty pleased with myself for skipping the pencil.

I was listening to a audio book so I could draw.
I really like the first dragon, he's cute. (Iron Hearted Violet is a book not his name!)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

A Seer

Two days ago, I was browsing through Behance and saw a painting that triggered my art bug. It was a digital painting of a seer woman floating in a white, layered dress with a lace veil covering her eyes. She was holding out one hand with an eye on it (the eyes on the hands thing totally creeped me out in Pan's Labrynth and was only slightly less unsettling in Once Upon A Time). So I decided to try my own version. I was especially intrigued with the idea of painting lace, I haven't really done it much. And I liked the idea of the obscured eyes. I painted this in Procreate on my iPad. I like how it turned out.

Friday, June 14, 2013

another one

Another painting made on my iPad. I used a photo as reference. I didn't follow the reference very closely. I like how it turned out.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

iPad Art

Here is some iPad Art I made recently. For the top one, I used reference from deviant art for the figure and winged it for the background. For the bottom one, I used random photo reference from the web but exaggerated her features for fun.

Friday, May 31, 2013

the mermaid and the deep sea diver

So I have finished my little watercolor studies. Ideally they would be super simplified but I wanted to flesh them out. I think I will probably stick with the first one for Reality Not Included 2 but I want to take some of the others to finish for myself. 

 This one is the most interesting one to me.

 I like the mermaids face and hair in this one. Other parts need work.

 I want to take this one to finish as well.

The original watercolor of this didn't turn out so good so I digitally reworked it to make it feel better.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

watercolor study

I'm working out some ideas for a piece I want to submit for Reality Not Included 2. I've done a study from one of the thumbnails. It has some anatomy/foreshortening problems to work out. I think I want to play with some of the others too. I should probably do more thumbnails too...

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Dragonologist

I made this for the ArtOrder Challenge- dragon world. I thought that in a world with dragons, what are some of the ways you could study dragons? This image shows a glimpse into the perilous life of the professional dragonologist. 

I picked my favorite composition out of the 20+ tumbnails I made. Then I refined it on the iPad, then printed it out so I could transfer it to watercolor paper. I made the watercolor below first. (I did a Vine while I was at it!) Then took it into Photoshop and  simplified the background and darkened the cliffs. I decided to make the dragon green and digitally painted more lights/shadows and refined certain parts on the dragon and the glider/man. The results of the contest will be up next week. I'm kinda excited! I bet there is going to be a lot of cool art!


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