Sunday, May 29, 2011

Athena Coin and Green Owl (detail)

Mr. Green Owl. Watercolor, 4" x 4" (detail)

This is similar to a reproduction Greek Athena coin bought when I was in high school.  Was looking for an inspiration for a different owl image and this fit the bill.  The olive leaves were appealing, as well as the giant eyes.  Got the teal/orange/green color scheme from a collage by Ruth Fiege.

Green Owl (detail)

Watercolor, 4" x 4".  This small work was in the Up Close show at Sk3tchbook. It's traditionally framed in black with a double mat--something I'm determined not to do anymore.  I b'lieve I hate framing more than about anything.  Coming up with some fine alternatives (see previous post: La Lechuza) that enable me to paint with watercolor and dispense with the grossly impossible task of cleaning frame glass.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Monday, May 23, 2011

La Lechuza

La Lechuza. Mixed media on canvas, 4" x 4" x 1 1/2".  Private collection.

This guy came about as an experiment in collage technique, as well as a desire to use watercolor and paper on a canvas surface.  Thanks to a uv blocking spray varnish, I can have a good time with watercolor and not have to fret about it fading, or about having to mat and frame under glass.

I used a page from an old Spanish dictionary fragment, wrapped the cradled canvas with it and also used bits from the page to create the spots behind the owl.

Finally, I used a stamp and ink, glazed it with quite a few layers of acrylic varnish, and then sprayed it with twocoats of uv block.

(Btw, Blogger is screwing up, so not every post is allowing me to add images.  If there are any ideas out there I am all ears)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Product Label: Finished version (detail)

Pretty much finished.  The turquoise of the eye appears more blue in this scan, and only a bit of the turquoise that's around the face shows (there really is more). In finishing, I lifted the paint on the closer bits and warms were applied. Kept darkening the deeper parts and then cooled them a bit with layers of the same turquoise.  My white goache (which I usually use for highlights) had turned into some vague jelly-like glop for some reason, so used white matte acrylic instead. Now there's no changing the label.

I'm looking forward to seeing the product all finished and the label stuck to it. I'll post that too, when I can.

As to colors: Sap green mixed with cadmium red for the green; the reds are mostly cadmium and alizarin crimson tweaked with phtalo turquoise, which is a color I've never used before. (I love it, because it's very vivid and strong, but removable when needed, and lightfast). Brown ochre for the wood and bezels--again, it's a color fairly new to me that has a great feel when spread over the paper. It mixes well with other colors, and removes easily. (If you read this, thanks Jakob!) New gamboge (warm but transparent) and lemon were the yellows.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Product Label--Fifth step: Adding values (detail)

Just adding darks here in order to model up the features. Wanted to preserve the olive-green so am not using warms or cools yet in the face.  I used several font ideas mixed and matched them, and made up some elements as well. Was still unsure how much white to preserve behind the face, which is based on a clock I made for my classroom years ago.  

I don't love perfect symmetry--I find it boring and bland in most cases.  But I love almost-symmetry.  It's stimulating, because even unconsciously the brain is trying to figure out differences in sides when it may not be apparent to the eye at first viewing..  It causes mild discomfort--much better than tedium.  In this case (and when I can I'll post the whole label) I made the face a bit different on each side. 

Next post: The finished label

Monday, May 2, 2011

New Product Label--Third & fourth steps: Brush and ink, initial watercolor layer (detail)

After viewing the penciled drawing, the client asked that the nose be changed to not look so "piggish". Outlined using a brush and black india ink, the pencil is then removed with a soft eraser. I like to lay in a light layer of watercolor on most of the drawing to get rid of excess white paper and to establish my color scheme.  In this case, the red was a given as that's the color of the product (and rubies). I wanted a familiar complementary scheme with a bit of gold to establish a comfortable feel.

New Product Label--Second step: Drawing (detail)

This is the drawing for the label of a new product.  The client asked for a bizarre face and rubies, and specifically hand-lettered.  The first step was a group of (very) rough sketches.  The client was pretty open about letting me have free rein, but wanted watercolor and befitting a "hand-made" style product. It's light pencil (even though I darkened it for the blog) on 300 lb. arches watercolor paper.
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