I have been making some headway in the little spurts of time I have to work on this painting. As you can see I have gotten a third tentacle’s white parts laid out better even after going back and readjusting them in the second tentacle. I had noticed that I had made far too many small bits from the first one I had reworked and the effect was bad. Lesson learned going forward. I was planning on holding off doing any more painting on the tips until after I got the white done on all the tentacles. However, I am impatient and was also worried that I would not be able to replicate the look from the first tentacle. I think it is going well.
On another note, I finally sent out for a print of Sarah Seadragon for my sister, whom this project is for. I can’t wait for her reaction. Also, I want to get an idea on print costs because that is one of the perks I plan to give supporters once I re-establish my Patreon page. One thing to understand about that is, while you can buy prints from my deviantart page, they will come from jpeg copies of my work. The compression these files use distorts the final product a bit. When I send out for prints myself, I use tiff files, which do not use compression for a truer print of the work. I will be talking more about Patreon and rewards in future posts.
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.
Had a pretty crappy weekend. I always have high hopes of getting a lot done on the weekends to make up for doing little during the week, but it unfortunately my job takes so much out of me that I spend the whole weekend recuperating so that I can face another week. I am back into that sucky cycle again and it saps my creativity too. I did; however, manage to make some more progress on the background defining more rock shapes. So it was not a complete lose, just mostly. Sigh. I could use some support right now.
As you can see, I have decided to use the lichen or whatever it is on the rocks under the starfish as a background for my painting. I loved the varying colors and subtle layer demarcations. This gives me a head start for a solo print of this painting unlike the red seahorse and Sarah Seadragon, which I feel need some kind of background for a print. What is nice is that the layers I use make it easy to peel away the starfish from the background for inclusion in the book illustrations.
Here is a progress image for the red starfish painting. Please enlarge the image so you can see where I am heading with the red parts of the tentacles (lower left tentacle). Looks like a patchwork or crochet quilt to me. This one does have the color I have been craving lately, but more importantly, it has lots of interesting texture.
Duh, … Wait a minute, I know the answer to that one? Duh ……….. Anyway, while we wait on Patrick, this is the beginning of my next project, which is this really cool looking starfish. Stay tuned for further updates.
Here she is, the new it girl, Sarah Seadragon. Isn’t she lovely in here shimmering jewel encrusted evening dress, ahem … well, this is the end of another painting in my project for my sister. I hope you have enjoyed watching the development of this painting as much as I did. I really did need a splash of colors to get me going.
This is the Sarah Seadragon painting with the main painting layer turned off. I will do that some times to check for mistakes, a few of which are the white stripes on the tail and ribs that should have been on the main painting. However, I thought this looked pretty cool, almost like a star cluster.
I have made a lot of progress, bringing this painting near its end. Eventually I will merge most of the layers so that I can center the image better but that can wait. I like how the various major areas that I have worked on separately are now starting to blend into a cohesive whole.
Well, I have made lots of progress. I am starting to connect the larger areas with more detail and smother color transitions. As you can see, the front two spine extensions have been heavily worked on. I was surprised when I took a closer look at the second one on my reference photo that I saw hints of the light blue from the stripes there. So many subtle color changes to try to achieve. I really needed this.