Monday, August 04, 2014

Finished Work: Brilliant Cut

Went to scan this piece...and the scanner died. A annual tradition it keeps up just to screw with me. An hour of messing around and it starting marching along again.

So. Here's the finished hummingbird piece:

Finished Work: The Wake

Finally put together a scan that wasn't offensively distorted. It still destroyed the subltle greens in the water, but otherwise is fairly close.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Mountain Gem WIP: Part Two

Ready for more feathers? 'Cause there's more feathers.

Here I've laid in a light base layer for each feather, and have started going down from the violet bib. Painting iridescence is something I'm still working on, but strong value changes are important. I've also started darkening the shadows on the bib.

More of the same, an hour later:

And...another hour and a half. Almost all the feathers laid in.

Working on the flower stem and the wings (another hour and a half of work):

Coming up: fine tuning. Lots of fine tuning.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Mountain Gem WIP: Part One

The merganser piece is finished. I did one scan, but it destroyed all the subtle values and color shifts, so I'm waiting to get up the energy for another pass at it.

In the meantime, I started a watercolor piece. This time on a piece of cradled Aquaboard I found in my closet (so glad those things come plastic-wrapped). One big experiment for me: a support I don't use very often, a subject I don't paint very often, painted at a size several times larger than the real thing. Plus iridescent feathers. Ugh.

After drawing the bird on the 16 by 20" board, I started laying in the background. Lots of granulating colors, aiming for cools on the bottom and warms on top.

Lay in the base local colors on the bird, and decided the background texture just wasn't doing it for me. Now, Aquaboard is supposed to be excellent for lifting, but the idea of doing it all with a brush was exhausting. Experiment time! I wet the background with water, put on a rubber glove, and used a clean sponge to wipe off the pigment. This was the result:

I decided I really liked the soft edges on the back and wings, so they got to stay. Then I lay in the feather pattern, but...

At this point, I hated it. A lot. But I persevered, and started adding shadows and color shifts to the feathers, and...

I still hated it. The sponge stepped up to the plate once again, leaving the head, which I was mostly-content with.

Here you can see where I've started laying in feathers again. Next update, feathers, and more feathers, and more feathers...

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Red-Breasted Merganser WIP: Part Three

About another hour of work, mostly on the water:

It's hard to tell, but this is two and a half hours later. I've started tightening things up: adjusting details, colors, and values.

Detail shot:

Another two and a half hours of fine-tuning work:

It's getting near the end. I can't wait to finish it and scan it; my crappy cell pics really don't do it justice at all.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Red-Breasted Merganser WIP: Part Two

More progress pics. This after another hour of work. Adjusted the local colors on top and rear of the bird, as well as more water ripples (there are always more water ripples).

Two and a half hours later. Detail work on the bird, particularly the back and belly/flank feathers. Painting the fine barring on the sides was like staring at an optical illusion for an hour.

Detail shot of the bird at this point:

Another hour and a half of work. Some glazes on the bird, but mostly working on water again.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Red-Breasted Merganser WIP: Part One

Tackling another large piece, this time an acrylic to shake things up a bit. This is 12 by 36 inches, acrylic on cradled gessoboard (everything Ampersand touches turns to gold). After two coats: blocking in the water and the big values of the bird:

Smoothing out the water, refining it a little:

Basic local colors of the bird:

Head detail and some water reflections:

More work on the head:

See that little patch of darkness in the water by its breast? That's two hours of work right there. Two. Hours. Painting water reflections.

Another two hours of work. Again, mostly working on water, and building a little depth on the head.