I have been experimenting with a few new techniques recently, but in this painting I decided to push them a little further. I first prepped my canvas with texture and a bright underpainting. Taking the composition, subject, and color into consideration during this stage was an important step in preparing the tone of the piece.
I began by "texture painting" and planning the major shapes and movement in the composition. Because I had already prepared the canvas, I wasn't dealing with a blank slate (so to speak), and blocking in the major highlights and shadows over the warm underpainting served a new purpose. I usually paint these in the planning phase, but here I considered how the subsequently painted layers would interact with the underpainting since the texture and glaze allow for much of the underpainting to peak through. After blocking in the highlights and shadows, I focused on the brighter colors and then eventually toned parts of those down with midtones.
Once the painting was nearly complete, I flipped the canvas to study the composition and realized the painting took on new meaning. Unable to decide which interpretation I liked the most, I decided to sign the painting a little unconventionally and left the directional decision to the viewer. The challenges this painting presented allowed for a lot of organic moments in the that I truly loved.
Happy to work on this unique colored duo today. This is the first time I've had to create this salmon color before in watercolor, and I love a good challenge in art. When I start a piece, I like to give myself an obstacle to overcome.
After my last plein air adventure, the Adobe Sketch app had some pretty significant updates. Brushes now have more customization and allow you to use a few features also available in the desktop app. Brushes can now be fine tuned in their opacity, stroke direction, etc, but the layers can also now be adjusted and reorganized as well. Still waiting on layer effects to be implemented, but I'm really happy with the updates Adobe is making for their sketching app.
I took some reference photos (since the little man can only handle watching me draw trees for so long) and brought the start of my plein air sketch into Photoshop when I got home to go back into the piece in further detail. I played around with some high contrast saturation texture layers, more detail in the moss and bark, and masking brushes. I'd been looking at a few digital artists which made me realize that the piece lacked a strong focal point so I tried a few more attempts at texture painting to rectify that. I love the possibilities Photoshop has and now that they're giving their app more flexibility the possibilities are even more attainable.
So, as a new mom, I've come to the conclusion that everything takes 3x as long to do when you have a little one in tow. I am so glad I was able to at least get out to the Tampa Outdoor Artists plein air meet up (albeit 20 minutes late) and get my sketching hand exercising. It was nice having the freedom sketching allows and getting together with other local artists. I honestly forgot how much I used to love carrying around my sketchbook back in the middle school days all the way through college.
Times have changed though, for better or worse. My hands and time are tied up a little more often than not these days, and as necessity is the mother of invention, or at least the catalyst in my case, I decided to bring my iPad to sketch with Photoshop on the go. Digital painting allows me the possibilities of various media without the trouble and mess using the actual material would cause. It was so much fun experimenting with Adobe's iPad apps in creating custom texture brushes that I subsequently used in my sketching in the very same session.
I first warmed up with some figurative work which allowed me time to adjust to the interface, brushes, and updates since my last sketch. The little man allowed me enough time to set up a texture brush and start a sketch of the palm tree I could see from my seat in Blick. Later luckily, the excitement of the day was enough to wipe him out at 6:00 that evening which afforded me time to go back into the piece to experiment with the color and lighting a little further.
All in all, I've learned the moral of this new experience has taught me Time Is Precious. Learning to make the most of it!