This is pretty much a continuation of the previous post. I worked on two paintings at the same time, and it was a very interesting learning experience. Here are the progress pictures of the 9×12 almost three-quarter figure portrait of a lady in Icelandic national costume.
As usual, I started with sketches. This one was only one sketch that I altered many times trying to decide on the background (the reference photo, taken in a studio, has a very boring tan-beige-taupe-bleh background). On a totally irrational impulse, I made the background red. Maybe as a response to the boredom of the background in the photo?
Mark's Icelandic Mom - red
Mark's Icelandic Mom - gold, direct light
Mark's Icelandic Mom - gold diffused light
Well, this was the “fire” part of The Land of Fire and Ice, and most people I consulted (including those of you who so kindly left a comment to my post about it) felt that the figure disappeared in the intense red and/or gold background. So I tried the “ice” side of it, together with a mossy-medowy green:
And we finally settled on the background above, a hint at the glaciers and the grasses. On to the drawing:
(and no, I don’t like masking.. or doing details in general. I like splashing paint.)
And the completed painting:
In addition to learning a couple more things about working small in watercolor (hands were hard!) and spending hours figuring stuff out with an anatomy book (granted, I love doing that), I expanded my knowledge about Iceland beyond Bjork and volcanoes a little.
Question: how do you change a large area in a watercolor painting (like the background in those sketches) without painful scrubbing out and washing off?
Answer: Cover it with acrylic gesso and paint on top!(that’s what I did) Or use gouache. Or acrylics. Or pastels