So I am back working on the starfish, already making some errors and learning some tricks. I have made some progress but that isn’t the reason for this post. I wanted to talk to you about how hard it can sometimes be to work on detailed paintings and the fear that can shut you down as bad as any writers block. This project in particular has significance with respect to the hard shell pieces on the fleshy starfish skin. I have worked on a similar combination of textures and detail once before, only finishing it through sheer stubbornness.
This is my piece “Barnacles and Butterflies” that I did several years ago. This is the only piece I have done in magic marker and for very good reason. This took several years, off and on, to complete because of the difficulty created by the need to individually detail each shell bit on every barnacle, as well as, the incorrect-ability of any errors made during the process. I would work for a while until my doubts and fears ate away at my ability to continue. The further I got the more I would push myself to get it finished, which led to more worries about short cutting the work or pushing so hard that I made an irreparable mistake. With this much detail, the chances of me starting over again where non-existent. To top it off, I was already doubting the painting because the shell parts were really a creamy pearl color that the markers could not produce. However, I loved the idea so much I had to complete it.
All of this was stuck in my head as I contemplated the starfish. However, c’mon, it is just so cool. I think that is part of the reason I took a break. Although doing this image on the computer has taken away most of my fears and doubts, there is still the sheer repetitiveness of recreating all the shell bits. I wanted to share this with you. I know some people look at artist’s work and think how easy it seems for them to accomplish. Heck, I even look at some peoples videos on their process with envy at the ease, but keep this post in mind when next you look at some highly detail artwork. The artist may have sweated blood over each and every decision. In truth, that is why the Nautilus and Sea Urchin works are currently stalled.
Try saying that fast. Anyway, here is the progress I have made and you can see that I changed the background color. It took a few tries to find a color dark enough to set off here colors while being light enough to see the lines of the drawing for the fins.
I just scanned in the finished seahorse drawing that I plan to start painting soon for a larger project, while the spider has been in my files for some time. The spider is in a basic state and is intended to be mechanical, which is what slowed me down because, as I have said before, I am not good at mechanical drawings. The idea for the spider came from an older drawing I did of human piloted spider walkers (scouts) under fire using thrusters to make short leaps out of danger. My desire is to update the idea using what I have learned with digital painting. I am posting it now because I have some new ideas about the project and hope to get back to work on it.
I have a suggestion for the scientists and technicians working on the next space probe to be sent to a planet with an atmosphere or liquid body to study. Put a microphone on the probe. Imaging the response they would get from the public viewing images ,or better yet video if possible, when they heard the sound of the probes wheels grinding through the dust of Mars. How visceral would the experience be if they listened to the sigh a breeze or roar of a gust of wind. Imagine hearing the soft gurgle sent back from a probe exploring waters underneath the frozen surface of a moon. Think of the support such recordings might bring from the public for other projects.
P.S. Maybe even send a separate small probe just for that so all the focus can be on the sound and video of exploring planets. What a documentary those could make. They even could see about support from media.