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Tweet tweet!

Not sure if you noticed but I’ve started a Twitter account. Yes, who thought I had all this extra time? Well, in reality I do not BUT I am practicing a more diligent regime of time management. Having said that I was able to get a fun little 4×6 painting done, which I started yesterday. It’s for an art fundraiser that Exhale Unlimited is hosting for underprivileged youth in Los Angeles. The catch is that you have to have a twitter account. So this my friends is what prompted me to join Twitter. That being said, had a very close friend not mentioned the fundraiser I probably wouldn’t have joined Twitter this soon…Thanks H! Hopefully my foray into this tweet this world goes well!

The specifications for all art to be submitted was that it should be 4×6 in dimension, horizontal in orientation and a “postcard-like” material was to be used. For me this meant stretched canvas or wood panel was out but luckily I LOVE painting on watercolour paper AND I happened to have a small pad of Arches watercolour postcards! This was very serendipitous.

Here is the progress of “Sisters of the Sea”…

I brainstormed several ideas, all being fun and whimsy but ultimately the mystique of mermaids won me over! I liked the idea of her being upside down. As though she were floating, you know having fun. Of course all the while avoiding sea sludge and plastic rings…which is what I’m sure all mermaids are notoriously known for doing. I also thought to make it more interesting I would add sea creatures, such as colourful tropical fish. Ones that pop out from beneath her seaweed-like hair, perhaps friends, or possibly lunch?

Concept sketch 1

As you can see from the above image I sortov forgot that a requirement was that all images should be horizontal! All was not lost! I can troubleshoot…I decided to employ my photoshopping skills!

Concept Sketch 2

Unfortunately I wasn’t satisfied with this design. I thought it too boring. Sure I could add more fish, perhaps a squid or two but no eels, eww. Ultimately it was a no brainer, especially when control+j were two of my fav key combinations in Photoshop…x2 and voila, il y a trois sirenes!

Concept sketch 3

The Sisters of the Sea were born. They were still a little rough but I would finesse the design once it was transferred onto paper. As you can see below, this being the transferred version, the design has been polished. Strands of hair are finalized, fish are placed, pearls are embedded…

Final rough

Now, here is where most of the fun happens! I LOVE using pen and ink. When I do decide to use ink it’s my first step, even before applying paint…therefor I’m always thoroughly disappointed that my cute little collection of Windsor & Newton inks are not waterproof…gorgeous colours, cute little packaging 🙁 Luckily I had a lovely shade of blue acrylic ink on hand.

Blue goes well with the underwater scene. I decided to add varying spaced lines for the strands of hair. Keeping in mind their seaweed-like nature.

I also gave the girls more of a fish-like appearance, after all they are creatures of the sea. Though I suppose they could have been squid, shark or octopus-like in regards to their skin…the idea of scales visually looked more pleasing and steered a little farther away from our favourite red haired siren of the sea.

OH and those dots are frisket. Terribly old, some what congealed and disgustingly smelly frisket. Note to self: When next at Curry’s, purchase a fresh bottle of masking fluid, yes it will still be stinky. Blarf.

Inking

Finally the end. I enjoyably added colour. Watercolour is a wonderful medium but only if you are not too anal about things being “perfect”. Fortunately I embrace the mistakes and make them work. I love the idea of layering colour. Be it for saturation, desaturation (is this a real word?), lightening (usually this is where gouache comes into the picture…)and finally to darken. I am one of the timid folk who are frightened at the thought of using dark shades during the beginning stages of a painting. Having the ability to layer, to make areas darker at any point of the process is very appealing.

Overall I really like the way this image came together, very quickly yet not hurried. It makes me want to revisit some of my old Fairy Tale illustrations that have been patiently waiting in limbo…someday my pretties, someday.

Sisters of the Sea 4x6 inches watercolour, ink and gouache on Arches watercolour paper

 

 

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