Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Ghost's Eye, Bird's Eye, and Eye-Movement
Detail from a yet-to-be-titled work.

As a follow-up to the last post, the teacher in me wanted to show the progression of a new painting, and some of my composition thought-process. This was an experimental piece in some ways--hadn't done a full-blown pen and ink with watercolor added in years. Also wanted to mess with the transparency of a ghost using ink lines.

So the progression:
1. After light penciling in, lots of lines with a crow quill pen and a warm black ink.

painting progression via
2. Then a wash of raw umber, with light cerulean dropped in for an underpainting.

painting progression via
3. Some initial color washes and strengthening of value with the blue paint.

 wip via
4. Deeper color and some cool shadows on the frightened bird.
5. And the final work, with color adjustments to the piece (I lightened some of the values on the ghost as well) and some pen-line strengthening. 
Such a blog-stager I am.

eye movement diagram
But not much of a picture-planner. Just kidding. Usually I am pretty thorough, 
but initially this ghost-picture was not going to be in color, as I was mostly interested in achieving transparency with pen and ink. So my first, simple composition plan follows:
Point of interest: The ghost's eye.
Eye-movement: From the ghost's eye to the bird and all the way around. 
(I wanted a sense of vortex, thinking it might enhance the fear of the bird.)
Balance: Three objects of similar visual weight,
plus the upturned hand added to balance the action of the bird's head and beak.

But when I added the color--oops! Big change.

eye movement diagram
Now that active bird-head with the red eye became the point of interest and reversed the eye movement. The color also threw the balance off. To fix that, I threw a bit of red and yellow onto the floorboards by the ghost's foot.

 ghost detail

And a final detail of the ghost. Happy enough with his translucence that I'm onto more ghost-works!
I'll be teaching some of these techniques and more at Art Makers Denver, this September!

Comments are appreciated, and 
thanks, as always, for the visit!

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