This sketch is actually getting it's inspiration from 2 sources. It is the theme for the Enchanted Visions Project and I promised myself that I would get myself involved in that again this month. But I have also been lucky that for the last couple of months the Dallas Museum of Art has had a Posters of Paris exhibit featuring one of my favorite artists - Alphonse Mucha. I love going to the museum, but this particular exhibit has been one of my favorites and I have been 3 times already (thank goodness for museum memberships). The idea for this was taken from an element in Mucha's Lorenzaccio poster.
It is in no way a copy of Mucha's beautiful poster. But the dragon's general fore body pose comes from the dragon in Lorenzaccio , as does the stars, shield, sword and book symbols included in the edges of this painting. I also hope to include some decorative motifs in the background "stonework" that will refrence the dragon tail like the background does in the Lorenzaccio poster.
Where Mucha hid the dark and scary elements of his poster among the pretty swirls, elaborate folds of fabric and elegant florals, this painting puts that dark and scary element front and center. The pretty pastoral image will be confined to the arch of the cave exit. But to get to that peaceful beauty you must first pass the dragon waiting for you. And there is proof, that many did not make it out, with the skulls littering the cave exit.
I started this painting near the end of 2012. It took a bit longer than usual for me, but it also has a great deal of detail to it. I spent 2012 really trying to learn how to paint digitally. I worked at it off an on, but the last 3 months, I really dedicated myself to learning this way of creating art. I missed the rich colors and smooth blending from my days working in oils, but I really didn't want to fill my home with the fumes again. And even if I no longer have a toddler running around to run her fingers over the wet canvases, I have 3 cats and a dog that want to rub against everything. Digital seemed the way to go.
And it paid off. I finally captured the look I have been trying for. In all honesty it took me so long because every time I paused I would spend an hour or so just staring at her thinking "Did I really do that?"
When I started this painting the sketch was very sad, mournful even, and my working title was Grief. But as I worked on her she evolved into something more thoughtful than sad. So I changed the title. And the little butterfly was an afterthought that just seemed to fit the more hopeful feeling of the painting that wasn't in the early sketch.
I recently finished this painting in my quest to master digital painting. I do seem to be improving by leaps and bounds with each work. I am very happy with the how nice the glowing flames turned out and the glow effects on the surfaces. I am also very happy with how the hands turned out.
Hands can be a bit of a challenge. At one time I had gotten pretty good at hands and feet. When I was in college we had to turn in a sketchbook for a drawing class and working 2 jobs, I didn't always have time to work on it. so I would show up to my art history class early and draw my own left hand and my feet propped up on the chair in front of me. About the only other thing in that sketchbook during the second half of the semester was the podium in the art history class and 2 sculptures, one outside the art history classroom and one outside the art building.
But after years of drawing mostly kitties and cute dragons, I seem to have gotten out of practice of drawing hands well. So capturing the dramatic hand gestures on this made me very happy. Yes, I had a photo reference, but that doesn't mean a think if you can't actually a hand.
And happy Solstice, Apocalypse Day or whatever it is you are celebrating on this lovely Decemeber 21st. Here is Dallas it is beautiful and sunny and way too nice a day for the world to end, but probably a good day for sun worshiping.
Here is another digital painting I recently finished that I think you might find the progress photos interesting. First I did a flood fill of the background and laid in the shadows and highlights of the skin and hair and made little dots where the pearls would go.
Here I have started on the facial features and put in the flowers in the hair and even add in some eye shadow.
As you can see I skip around from area to area. I have added in the wings and started adding some shading to the facial features.
Here I have blocked in some trees in the background, added some more depth to the hair and actually attached the wings to the fairy and added an earring.
And here is the final image with more details, some mist in the forest, more trees further back, details in the wings, some life in those eyes and the pearls have been shaded too. What you can't see in an image this small is that she also has some very soft freckles on her nose and cheeks. Skin that pale is going to have some freckles.
So I am back to trying to learn to paint digitally. It is an obsession and I doubt I will stop until I learn to do it as well as I want to. It is pretty much how I have approached every other art form I have taken an interest in.
This is a Hippo Campus that I sketched out last week. The digital part has already taken up about 3 hours of my day today. Mostly on researching some basic functions.
I have been looking at the works in progress by other artists and they seem to have their color pallets on just a layer of their canvas and that seems to mess me up every time I try. So I spent some time researching how to make my own color pallet on the tool bar instead of using the ready made one or just adding colors to the one that was there. I wanted to just have the colors I wanted to use for the project, to prevent confusion. That took some time, but it worked out well. Now if I could just figure out how to sort the darn colors so my pinks were together and my teals were together.
Then I had to re-remember how to make my whites transparent in my sketch scan and just finally used my magic wand function and deleted the whites it selected. Then I did a flood fill of a light teal to a dark and then roughed in the coral in a hot pink.
This was all done with the mouse. Now I need to unearth my WaCom tablet and actually start to do some real work. Not that all the reasearching and learning wasn't real work, because it was. My brain hurts to prove it. But not much art to show for it just yet.
I am starting a new watercolor. I am planning on working slightly differently on this one, and want to document it here. I have sketched in my design and even did a little bit of shading with the pencil this time. I am skipping the inking step, which is a little scary for me. So wish me luck.
By the Ruins is my latest painting for this year.
It has been a rough year creatively. I have been focusing more on learning new skills than creating new artwork. But on the plus side I have developed some new skills.
I have began to actually learn a bit of digital art. Still not my strong suit as I am not real good at sitting down at a desk and painting for hours on end. I seem to like having lots of stuff going on around me. So moving from the livingroom to the spare room for my studio wasn't the best for me creatively. And then digital art is not as easy to take to a coffee shop when I am feeling stuck. Watercolors seem to be much easier to transport. I think I need to powerful laptop to handle some digital work.
I have also been perfecting my face painting skills and have joined the local guild. I have actually been painting faces for 2 years now, but began my creative obsessing around late December of last year. The plus side of this, is that I have gotten rather good at face painting, the down side is that I have become attached to a TV show called Face Off.
If you click on the image of By the Ruins, it will take you to the etsy listing for the original painting. Maybe later this week I will make myself focus on getting this image on cafepress.
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