Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Updating an old painting

I'm one of those artists with the stereotypical moments where I'm absolutely in love with a painting, alternating with moments where I want to throw it in the trash and give up painting altogether.  For some time, I would start a sketch or painting, but then I would get frustrated with it and stop.

I think stopping is a good idea, as sometimes a break and time to calm down is the only thing you need.  Heck, I've even put paintings away for months, only to pull it out and decide it isn't so bad, then hang it on my wall and have it be something I enjoy seeing every day.

But the stopping I do most often is stopping because I'm afraid to ruin it.  This was a problem for a while.  I was afraid that my skill was too limited, and I would ruin all the things that I liked about a painting.  For the record, I don't do studies, though I probably should explore that.  This painting hung on my wall for a couple of years.  I'd lie in bed and look at it, and struggle to imagine how to get the effect I wanted.

So I googled it, and it's out there.  Guys, there are tutorials for anything you want to do.  I knew this, of course, but THERE ARE TUTORIALS ON HOW TO PAINT AN OCEAN FLOOR.  That's oddly specific but exactly what I needed.  I picked up this painting and committed to finishing it.

To begin:

This is the start.  The idea I originally had was to paint a female nude in the abstract, resembling a desert and/or ocean floor and have rays come down and the dapple of light on her body.  I got this far and decided I didn't know how to continue, but I liked it enough to not want to ruin it.  

Step 1:

OK, so first of all the color of the bottom is more yellow due to a difference in light sources.  Something I learned from poking around the internet is that I'm afraid of chunks of direct color.  There are many ways that people paint that include large chunks of color or rough strokes, and once detail is added, then the eye interprets them.  It's really interesting.  Using this idea, I used a lot of dry brush for the first time, and it really turned out well.  I like the effect.  

Step 2:


In between steps two and three, I attempted to paint ripples on the main source of light up there, and had to do some repainting, as it looked pretty bad to me.  I was working on the detail idea, but it wasn't working.  That resulted in a bit of a lighter look in the middle.  The instruction on the rays down were to lightly dry brush, and then to blur with another brush with no paint.  It looked thick and streaky and not light at all.  I took a wet paper towel and lightened and that helped quite a bit, so I started painting with that.  It was like finger painting, but with extra dampness.  At first the rays were symmetrical looking, so I added more until it looked random.  I think the end result looks somewhat natural.  I'm not going for photorealism here, but something recognizable would be nice.

I paused here, because my eyes were tiring, and I wanted to be on my game for the next part.  I also wanted to sleep on the light rays, because something about them doesn't seem right to me.  I'll be on Google image search looking at ocean floors today.  I'm going to try for going again tonight.  

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