By the Horns (from my Patreon page)

 

I have been focusing on the rider and bull mostly at this point because the background has really clicked into place.  Interesting story about this and my last two paintings.  As I mentioned before, I am a slow, methodical painter who does not plan out a lot of aspects to the finished image from the beginning.  Unfortunately, many times I run into roadblocks when trying to fit one part of a painting into another.  From my first post about this painting you can see that I had the bull started and not much else because I still had no idea what I wanted for a background.  It had to be hellish of course, but how do you do that and make it believable that someone is riding a bucking bull through it.

Well, you can see that I had made a start on the upper half then hit a wall.  I could not see how to bring the floor out from the great background I had created.  I could not see how the two areas fit together, so I stopped.  I literally closed the file and quit painting.  Of course, this was also the time I was dealing with a ridiculous amount of stress from work, which may have been affecting my efforts.   The more pertinent fact though was a lack of professional training.  I never learned how to discipline myself to work on images, usually waiting for inspiration to drive me into a frenzy of creativity.

Then I lost my job and my way for a bit.  I had all kinds of time on my hands but no idea what to do with it.  Because I don’t have an entertainment package, I watch a lot of YouTube videos.  Luckily, I watched a video on, I think, the difference between professional and amateur writers.  The big difference the video pointed out is that professionals don’t sit and wait for inspiration.  If they are stuck, they still make themselves work on something for the project and trust that the process will help them find the inspiration.  In other words, they keep moving.  At this point I had three projects that had frozen up on me because they had overwhelmed me, Rodeo, Linear Thinkers in a Non-Linear Universe, and Termanicz.  All partially finished but out of ideas.  I decided to try the YouTube method out.

You can see that I have found some success.  Both Termanicz and Linear Thinkers in a Non-Linear Universe are done and I have made great strides on Rodeo.  I hope to continue in this vein so I can produce more quality work per year than I have ever done before.  So far, Rodeo is turning out way better than I imagined it could.  If you have trouble completing projects, consider trying this method and letting the process of working free up the inspiration.

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Eight Layer Painting Recipe (from my Patreon page)

 

I have been painting digitally for well over a year now and I have to say that I don’t know how I did it before.  Yes, I still have a long way to go but with each painting I gain in strength and skill.  The aspect I enjoy most is the ability to change plans on the fly, which is a benefit in painting by layer.  My current project consists of eight different layers that build the image from back to front.

Initially I started with just three layers, one for the drawing of the alien, one for the painting I planned to do, and one for the background.  At this time I had no idea what I would do for the background but began painting the alien anyway, trying different background colors to better highlight the image.  I turned the drawing on and off as I needed to check placement of features.  When I got fairly far along with the creature design, I began playing with images for the background just painting over it when I did not like the progress.  I was able to do this without worrying about damaging the alien image.  Of course, this meant that the alien would look disconnected from the background.  However, I figured that I could touch up the creature image to fit it with the background.

Experimenting with making a drawing for the background, I was able to scan in and piece together the background buildings I wanted and added two more layers (city drawing and city painting).  The city was very basic and meant to be seen at a distance.  Again, I used the drawing layer whenever I wanted to compare the painting to my original idea.  Working with the city painting layer, I knew I wanted some haze in the background to help push the city back a bit.  What I ended up doing was painting the background layer black (my initial thought was that the city was underground but I decided to just go with in darkness) and placed another layer between it and the city painting.  By doing it this way, I could paint on thin washes of dark colors and experiment with how they changed the image without having to fix the other painted layers if I changed my mind.  In addition, as I tried ideas on other layers, I could go back to any number of layers and work to make them fit together, so much flexibility.

After getting further with the buildings and haze layer, I decided I wanted to add light glow to the lighted buildings and lighted highways.  I made a new layer over the city adding washes of light colors that matched the lighting of the buildings, letting the other layers to be seen through a filter of glowing color.  Of course this effect is achieved best with dark layers behind.  Remember, I still had not completely built the full image.  Working on the city, I had filled the top half of the image but with large gaps that allowed the black background to show through.

Finally making a decision on the area immediately behind the alien, I created another layer above the glow layer but still behind the alien painting layer.  On this layer I painted grass until I partially covered the city background.  See how easy it is to build a digital painting without completely designing the image.  Yes, you can make changes with physical methods; however, it is not as easy and sometimes you try things that cannot be undone.  With the layers I can add or remove ideas without damaging other elements.  In addition, I can even play with where layers sit with respect to the overall painting.  Compare the above image to other updates and you will see that I have shifted the alien from the center to the left of the image.  If this had been a physical painting, I would have been stuck with my first choice or have had to start over from scratch.  That would have probably been the end of the painting for me because I usually cannot muster the enthusiasm to start over.

All in all, I am enjoying painting in Gimp for the same reasons that I like using a word processor.  I can change and adjust ideas without having to start all over, which frees me up to experiment with composition and tone more than with physical media.  I find that this suits my creative methods.  I always started with one element and built outward from that, making decisions as I went.  Unfortunately, with physical media, the results were nowhere as good as you see now.

Updates to my Kickstarter Project

Quiet Strength Kickstarter Project

I have been busy working on the Termanicz project but I am also spending time adding information to the Kickstarter project to show the value.  I have included a close up of the tiger to show off the eyes that can be seen in the print and also an image of the actual print and documentation for the $30 reward.  This is a great value for $30 because the image size is 10.5″ by 25″ with a 1″ border making the distinctive eyes of the tiger clearly visible without increasing the cost of the print by tripling the size.  Finally,  I have included an image of the painting I would like to print next “Universal Eyes – Infinite Sadness”.  Please consider supporting this project.  For only $30 you could get yourself an iconic image that will catch the eyes of anyone that sees it.  Better yet, get several as gifts and help me continue bringing great content to this sight and please pass on this post.

P.S. I forgot to mention that the shipping and handling are already included in the $30 reward level.

Termanicz Update (from my Patreon page)

Here is where I am now.  As you can see, I have been working on cleaning up the basic tower painting (towers on right are still rough) and experimenting with lighting the buildings (second section on the far left tower).  Cleaning up the towers takes a while because I have to shift between 25% and 200% magnification to check overall image and work on the small areas.  The background will eventually be black but it is easier to work on tower detail with the orange.