Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Crystal Ball

It is not a mystery that I love Preraphaelites technique and subjects, so I felt ambitious enough to (try to) reproduce one of their paintings. Here I chose Waterhouse's "The Crystal Ball". There's a little of all: still life, architecture, a human subject with a not too difficult anatomy and simple fabric effects.
This is the original (from the Internet):

Then comes the 90' (well, i would say 2-hours) quick sketch:

I focused my efforts mostly on woman and still life. I couldn't manage to finish the furniture and give the correct perspective to the floor's tiles, anyway those details are less important to me right now.

Then, I wanted to give more details to the woman and the still life, so I worked it up a little more:

I love very much the potential gothic atmosphere which is hidden in this simple and apparently innocent subject: the Crystal Ball itself, book and skull have good potential to turn this painting into a much darker one.
So this is my dark interpretation of it: a sorceress doing divinations in the night. Don't think that Waterhouse would have liked it, but he will never know anyway.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Norwegian Volcano

Last 90 minutes exercise of my sick leave (from tomorrow I'll be less productive with Photoshop).
This time I copied a coastal landscape from Northern Norway, but adding a completely new and odd subject, a volcano. I wanted to insert the new element so that the final effect would nevertheless be realistic (hopefully). My boyfriend complaines that it doesn't look enough epic and cool; well, I'll try something more cool when I'll became more skilled, since I don't want to paint something which at the end can for sure look ridiculous (this is a common mistake among beginners, I think...)

Pumpkins in 90 minutes

Another 90 minutes sketch from yesterday evening. This one also a copy from a old photo:

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

1 hour 30'

Today I'm sick so I've time to do something. To get faster I got the suggestion that I should paint some quick sketches in no more than 90 minutes each.  Here are the (embarrassing) results:
A picture of my son from a photo. I'm not happy at all with proportions and especially with the face, but I'll try harder.

Then, another landscape from a photo taken one summer from our cottage:

I think I must paint more and more of these 90 minutes-sketches, it helps a lot. I must admit that I feel much more comfortable with landscapes. May I'll get specialized on that stuff.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Demoniac Vision

This time I decided to create a character completely new, just to test if I could get some inspiration, and find out a palette, instead of copying. I did a quick pencil sketch, which was scanned and used as base layer in Photoshop to develop it. The original sketch had such a bad anatomy that I had to take a picture of myself in the same pose, and use it as a model.
It should represent a female demon with a kind of double personality. Since I'm quite tired of the stereotipe sexy representations of females in the (male) world of digital art, I wanted to create a character which is more terrible than beautiful, and could suggest an aura of power around herself.
To be one of the first things I do in Photoshop, and thinking that I do not have so much time left for painting, I feel almost happy with this work. Nevertheless, much more training must be done and I whish I could be quicker.
That's why I've left it as a sketch and didn't try to paint more details, so I can go on with something else.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Winter Story

At the end, our computer has been fixed and I could quickly finish a winter landscape, copied from a picture taken by my boyfriend some years ago, in the mountains of Lappland. This painting is intended as something in between a sketch and a more detailed work, anyway I didn't want to spend too much time on it.
This time it was not a problem to manage many layers to paint several levels (river, trees, sky, mountains, snow, and so on). I tried many kind of fur brushes in order to get a somehow realistic effect about the trees in the background. I know that there are special tree brushes which can do the same but in a much better way; maybe I'll try to get them in the future.
I realize that is quite convenient to get a palette directly from the photo where the subject is taken from. At the beginning I felt a bit reluctant to use this method (it sounds as cheating), but on the other hand it can be very useful to learn how a good palette should look like when you'll start to paint a similar but not copied image.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Forced interruption

If digital painting offers endless possibilities, I must admit that there are also some huge limitations about it: you need a lot of expensive stuff to realize your masterpieces. You need an adequate computer, a pen-and-tablet set (well, it is possible to paint with mouse as well, as I realized recently, but this is more difficult), and a quite expensive program, if you decide that Photoshop is the one you're going to use. Then, you are dependent on electricity to make all of this work. Fine Artist's Colours and Similar Stuff can be quite expensive too, but one can anyway use much cheaper material and doing something good as well: some paper, a pencil and eraser are always affordable, and can be used without other technological facilities.
Well, this was just to tell that I have some stuff waiting for this blog, but after the Wacom pen died, now it was the turn of the Photoshop program to quit in a quite crowded computer. The old tablet was replaced by a wonderful new one, as a X-mas present from my wonderful boyfriend, but the computer is in a need of some deep cleaning.
In the meanwhile, I have to decide which traditional technique I should practise in the new year. Maybe drawing some human anatomy would not be so bad, I'm very poor with it...