Sep 16, 2010

Polar Party (Christmas) Tutorial

"How do you paint?"   This is the question I am asked most often.  
For me, it has been an evolution of years of "doing".   
I'm not sure I can articulate how to paint.  
But, I will show an example of something I'm working on today.  
A work in progress, a tutorial. 

Step 1.  What to paint?  

The idea is the most fun part for me, the options are endless.  
To Start,  think about what is needed 
(...a Christmas image for a new calendar)
inspired by the painting "Mr. Frog's Birthday Party". upper right
Red and green, A group of friends animals (I love to paint animals, to add whimsy) 
It needs to be snowy and will need added warmth.
....I quickly sketch out an new image, what I've pictured in my head.

The moose should be funny... a great big moose sipping a dainty cup of hot cocoa.
I want him to be dark, to provide contrast, to draw the eye to the center of the image.
The children? Using vintage art as my inspiration, I want them to look simple and stylized.
Added warmth?  How about a cozy little fireplace, like the one I hope to have on my patio someday.  I'll add in a penguin and a white rabbit backside.   Scarves will add color and whimsy.

As you can see in the more finished sketch to the right, I've added details.

The sly fox could have been interesting, but an art director told me not to put wild animals in my images,  "no fox" "he could eat small children".  Also, "no bears"...but the challenge is to make the wild animals friendly...Obviously not interested in eating children, (they have Hot Cocoa and cookies in their paws.)    ...I go ahead with bears, what a wild woman I am...
I add a bear to the fox in the foreground to look at a tiny gift box.

My friend, Wendy, challenges me to try a different color palate.

Step 2. color blocking

A new color palate is just what was needed to inspire me.  Thanks Wendy!   
The blue color palate is safe~ but this is a challenge!  The green is calm, and Christmas like, it could work.  The red/pink is the most different, and it looks like a vintage post card.  If I keep the rest of the palate a foggy grey with green cast, it could work...

...Will it work?

Come along with me to see 
what will happen.

Step 3. "Red" Background Wash

The background wash is one step.  Place water where the background should go with a large brush, use a smaller brush to soften edges and go into the detail around the tree branches. Use warmth to make the skyglow, at the base of the trees in the sky.  With wet on wet, it will flow together well. 
I add pink to the white of the trees as a reflective glow. 
Overly anxious, I add in reds and the warm moose, to see if this might work...

will it work?   ...we continue tomorrow.

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