Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Katie Melua

There's a video on YouTube of Katie Melua, a musician, playing in some hotel or something. I really like the look of it and the framing of her shifts throughout and makes some really great compositions. So I found a frame I liked and did a painting. I wanted to spend a bit more time on today's painting, and it did take a little longer, but not heaps... it came together pretty quickly which I was happy about. And I took some time to get the angles and construction better, which worked out too.

I think her face feels a bit flat, but i'm not sure why. And I'm still learning a lot about saturation and how to get a good balance with colors. Overall I'm happy though.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Cloudy with a chance of painting

Thought I'd do a few quick studies of clouds, to understand a bit of how they look and how to construct them in painting. One from a tutorial, the other just copying a photo reference.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Underpainting test

I'm not sure how common underpainting is nowadays, but as far as I understand it, it used to be used very widely... the idea is that you paint an underlying layer of your picture in the complimentary colors of the final, then paint over the top of it. And bits and pieces of the underpainting will peek through the finished work and add more vibrancy and depth to the colors. I'm not sure if people always leave bits showing, in fact, or if it's just a way of achieving richer, more interesting mixes as you paint.

I thought i'd give it a go on a quick painting, so I whacked down a VERY rough layer which looked pretty bad (all greens and purples). You can see it most clearly in the face - there's green showing in bits that stops it becoming too pink and monotonous. I think I overdid it, because she's looking pretty sickly, but it was just for experimenting anyway so it's all good.

Then, for fun, I painted streaks of bright colors on the underpaint layer, which ended up looking a bit like using a Colorise brush mode in Photoshop. Whatevs.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Eye painting

Today I followed a "tutorial" of sorts that gave some hints on painting eyes, from an artist I really like. I tried to follow it quite closely, to see what happened and how it differs from my usual approach. Gave me a few things to think about and reminded me how much work goes into the refinement process and how much difference it makes.

No wonder all my half-finished sketches never have the look I'm going for, when I abandon them before the real work begins!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A game

Today we are playing "guess who went to the European Masters exhibition"?

One thing I really liked there was looking at the way color was used in many of the pieces... some of the paintings just felt like a breath of fresh spring or summer air. Lots of high-value paintings, sometimes with NO real darks at all. I guess Monet is one of the better-known examples of painters using these kind of colors.

Anyway, I started this as an illustration that was going to have a character in a foreground balloon but I ran out of time and anyway I liked the spacious, calm feel of this.

All my work with color recently is starting to affect my work, too, which is encouraging.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Another color study, this time I wanted to try a film/photography approach, using color as a stylistic thing in the shadows and highlights. Worked ok, I think it has potential. I should start focusing on accuracy and proportion as well when i do these studies, because a well-colored but very wonky face still ends up looking weird!

EDIT : Ok, every time I glanced upon this image, the severe wonkiness was giving me the irrits, so a few seconds with Liquify in Photoshop and it's a lot better, but I have kept a little thumbnail of the original proportions in the corner to remind me that it's worth spending a *bit* of time on construction even for quick stuff.

Then, following the same idea, trying to paint depth of field, which is pretty much a totally wrong concept, but i like the idea of capturing a 'lens' with its particular qualities and artifacts in paint...

I'm getting a bit keen to try some "real" painting, on canvas, so that will be cool. Gotta keep working on anatomy and portraiture fundamentals as well, though.