Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Sketchbook Tidbits

After a bit of a delayed absence, I thought I'd start by posting a few sketches from the past week (also posted at the "Drawn Today" blog.)

Cinderella-- digital color wash over a pencil sketch

Clock from the local bakery (which seems oddly suited to Cinderella, un-intendedly so!)

And some equine-related game card sketches.

In addition, in the past couple of weeks I've learned some lessons about being very, very careful with masking fluid. Very careful indeed. I've always used Winsor & Newton masking fluid and never had any problems, but recently I switched to Utrecht masking fluid, and became aware that using it too thinly results in *permanently* masked areas which are impossible to scrape, rub, coerce, or peel off the paper. Not good. Not good at all. Fortunately, I discovered this on a little experimental watercolor landscape rather than a huge masterpiece, however, I was growing rather fond of it and wish it hadn't been quite so irrevocably ruined. I'm definitely switching back to Winsor & Newton, or one of the other brands which have since been recommended to me by sympathetic friends!

I had masked some of the foreground grasses and about half of the flowers, so that I could come back and paint them in some more vibrant hues of greens and purples later. Now some of them are forever destined to be the sickly-pale yellow color of masking fluid -- which isn't really what I had in mind at all.

Needless to say I have thrown away my Utrecht masking fluid, and will probably stay away from it completely for as long as I can help it. I think the exercise will do me good!

Detail. I was working from a reference photo that my father took, some years ago, on a walk in the Clee Hills of Shropshire.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Work in Progress: "The Starwatchers"

Some prep work for another dragon painting.

Initially I titled this "The Starwatchers," but now I'm not so sure that's the title I want to stick with. Let me know if a great title springs to your mind for this piece!

In the meantime, here is the initial colored pencil drawing:

And a digital paintover to experiment with colors and composition:

Friday, 16 July 2010

Dragons and Bedtime Stories

I'm still working on my dragon! This is the same thumbnail canvas, just with a few more colors added.

...and this is a pen and ink sketch I worked on for a few nights while sitting up in bed instead of reading. I will be trying to continue this kind of thing as an ongoing creative drawing exercise.

("Bedtime Story #1" )

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Cave Dragon-- Thumbnail in Oils

Oil thumbnail for Cave Dragon painting, 3" x 7". I'm not really done with the thumbnail-- however, working wet in wet I began to make mud, so I had to stop for now to let these layers dry at least until tomorrow. (I guess I didn't use enough Galkyd to get it to dry faster... still catching on to all the finesse involved with oil painting!) Anyway I thought I would simply take pictures of it as I go, to keep a record of the rougher thumbnails, but take it right up to as much finished detail as I can fit on this rather tiny canvas-not usual for a simple thumbnail, but that way should give me an idea of how best to approach the final, and give me some extra practice with oils in the meantime. I think it is going to be tricky to keep some of the glowing haze effect from the "fun digital mock-up"-- which I liked because it seemed to imply a dusty atmosphere. In fact, it has occurred to me that I may have to start Learning About Glazes to achieve the effect I'm looking for in the very end.

In the meantime, you can see that I have lengthened the frame, which I did because the focal point seemed too centralized, so I think this makes a better composition. It now has some *new* challenges, of course, such as: where to put the tail, if anywhere? (I brought it around front for that Classic Draconian Style, but it seems to be competing with the head and neck, so I may have to alter it a bit, or at least dim the highlights.) I do like that it echoes the sinuosity of the the neck, but it shouldn't *compete* with it quite as much in my opinion, since the upper neck and head are the focal point. Allowing the highlights to creep further down the body lessened the "drama" of the "spotlight" ray, which could be a bad thing, but I still like the overall effect well enough and I *do* think it's a fair trade-off for a better composition. To me, almost anything is a fair trade-off for a better composition-- since a good composition is an absolute requirement for a good painting! And now, with the added highlights for emphasis, I've realized the front legs are a bit too symmetrical, so I'll probably be changing the one furthest from the viewer to be stretched downwards.

More to come soon! Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Some digital experiments I've been working on to get the general idea of the lighting for the piece. I still haven't created a maquette yet but I probably will.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Defensive Dragon

So, I've been away for awhile... but I'm back!

Here is something I'll be working through to a finished painting, basically because "I've decided to paint a dragon." These are some preliminary sketches of it-- I'd like to have her peering out from a very dark shadowed place, and her recoil is from the bright light which has surprised her somewhat.

One thing I didn't like about the second sketch is that I overworked the highlights on the dragon's head, which lost the mood of the lighting, in my opinion. So that will be something I need to remember as I tighten up the drawing. I am also planning on making a maquette to photograph, since this anatomy is in such an awkward position that I suspect it will be nearly impossible to make it convincing otherwise!

I am currently planning on painting this in oils, but that could change... I should be posting progress again by next weekend. Please check back to see how she progresses!

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Christmas Commission time

Ok, so, I've accepted two commissioned paintings to finish by Christmas, which is a very tight deadline indeed, so I probably won't be posting anything else until after that.

I'm very much looking forward to getting out the watercolors for this, though!

They will be two watercolor portraits-- different angles of one very beautiful Australian Shepherd. This will be a rushed adventure but I will still write about the things I've learned in doing it; I will just probably wait until it's over to do so. :)

Happy Holidays!