Friday, June 15, 2012

Mer-gent Painting Process Begins

Here is the finalized drawing with a bit of shading on top of the gessoed illustration board. The board started warping a bit during the gessoing process, but since then it has settled down.
I use a "yurmby" wheel (named after the colors in the wheel) to start planning the color scheme of my painting. This color wheel differs from the traditional color wheel in that the "primary" colors--yellow, red, and blue--are not spaced evenly. Here, the traditional primary colors, the secondary color green, and the colors magenta and cyan (colors more familiar to the digital painter than the traditional painter), are all even with each other. The reason that this wheel is favored by some artists is that the even spacing of the colors reflects a more accurate spectrum.
I have chosen a small selection from the wheel to help create a specific mood or atmosphere for the painting. For my "gamut" that I have masked, I have chosen a wide selection of blues and very few "warm" colors so as to aid with the underwater setting. The white and brown are there to mix with the other colors only for the brightest tints and darkest shades. Little did I know that mixing in brown for an "underwater" painting would lead to an early demise.

In Photoshop, I create a color study, picking colors from my selected gamut directly. I fiddle with the levels slider to create a variation of my first study, which you can see to the right. As much as I like the old-fashioned, faded look of the altered image, I decide to stick to the original, which is more convincingly aquatic. 
I spray my sketch with workable fixative and then brush on a thin layer of matte medium to seal the sketch before the painting process. I then begin an acrylic under painting to map out the basic colors of the piece. I tried to do a consecutive wash too quickly on top of my first wash covering the whole paper, which resulted in some of the paint lifting. You can see the results of this as the darker brown border around the edges of the painting. I am not too concerned about this as the background will eventually be covered relatively thickly with paint. 
I do a quick, transparent oil under painting using only blue and brown, but the more colorful acrylic layer shows through creating a nice balance. I am pretty happy with the energy in the under painting, so the challenge will be to keep the consecutive layers of oil paint fluid and the colors unmuddied.

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