Tuesday, November 4, 2014

SmArt school #2

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:

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.


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