Sep 5, 2012

About Fairy Reading in Greens

Recently, I was asked to post more about painting and my artwork.
I've chosen to write about

Fairy Reading in Greens

This image is of a tiny fairy reading, surrounded by white star flowers.  

A fairy sits quietly reading, lost in a good book.  Sunlight reflects on her diaphanous wings.  
Ladybug friends read as they relax on leaves in the morning sun.
This scene allows us to steal a glimpse of a fairy reading a book.

Imagine... quietly parting branches to observe this tiny Fairy 
engrossed in reading
(one of those rare moments 
of spotting a fairy without her knowledge.)

Gossamer Wings

In this image I wanted to paint gossamer wings.   Not only because I love the sound of the word "gossamer" but because the meaning of this word captures the delicate nature of fairy wings.  Lace-like wings similar to those of a dragonfly.  Fairies have glistening wings painted to look delicate, reflecting light, with an iridescent, opalescent quality.  Her wings reflect all that surrounds.  I've added dots of white with a bleed proof paint (with a tiny brush) to give the appearance of sparkles.

Her wings reflect leaves of green and white star flowers against the hazy morning sky.  Originally, I wanted to paint her dress with the same iridescent quality as her wings. Instead, to create a fresh look, I used a clean simple cotton dress to contrast with her iridescent wings.  This simple dress creates the image of a fairy enjoying the sweet, simple pleasures of reading.  She is dressed in white  (I make most of my fairy's and children's clothing white...someday, I will tell you why) I've added a warm glow to her dress, using a thin water based glaze of color, to show the sun's reflection on her clothing.

Her blonde bob reflects the coloration of her wings and dress. I like how the nape of a child's neck looks when a child is reading,  chin down.  The back of her hair is slightly higher while the front of her hair falls toward the face, to show the movement in the hair.

I chose to make the sky a misty light chartreuse, can you can feel the cool morning air?  A hazy sky creates a glowing backdrop against darker foliage, so the eye is directed to where the child is sitting.  Purposely, the hazy sky dips to where the fairy sits. ( to the act of reading.)  The pages of the book are light.
The light of the child's wings contrast with surrounding darker foliage,
to create a chiaroscuro effect, to draw the eye in to the main focal point.
I use the darker foliage to contrast with the lighter peach color of awkward toes turned inward.
The line quality isn't perfect, but creates a feel of simpler times.

Red Ladybugs are a compliment to
a green background. 


The painting color is a split complementary triad,
with yellow greens, chartruse, greens and blue greens -
colors opposite of the red in the ladybugs.
The complementary color (red in this case) was added to greens to give the green a fresh zing.
I used cool blues and purples in the shadows of the leaves.   

(**watercolor tip** consider color like flavor in cooking  - much like adding sugar to make the salt/flavor pop)   
red ladybugs in the green leaves pop, stand out.
Note the red of the bug reflects in the shadows of the green leaves- see Ladybug above. 

(** watercolor tip** using red in the green or next to green can enliven your green.  Green looks better if other colors-(red in this case) are added to make the color less of a "bright crayon green" primary color, to a more subtle shade.  This will make the green stand out.  This is how I think of it...A example is in the way most people dress. Many women wouldn't want to wear all the same shade of green (example-green top, green jacket, green scarf and belt, green pants, green stockings, green shoes and green hat - you'd look like a leprechaun!). But, you can pair your greens with another more subtle color to help it look richer ) 

**watercolor tips**
Allow parts of your water color paper to show to add shimmer and sparkles of dew on a leaf.
I paint from light to dark, starting with light glazes of watercolor,
then building layers until the effect is what I want.
Once the image has the look I want, I take more liberties with the background.
adding in pools of larger areas of color and adding drops of warmth to edges to create interest. 

You can view "Fairy Reading in Greens"   up close in a set of 6 postcards 
"Fairy reading in Greens".  Available in my Online Webstores- links below.

or purchase the large 8X10 signed print
or an 11 X 14 special order
(only a few of these available, my new squared images  have a fresh look)

**watercolor tips** - these are some of the ideas, and techniques I like to use while painting with watercolor.

other versions

* note *  there are several versions of this image,
make sure the image you choose is the version you want. 

If the shops sell out, drop me a note.
I will let you know when they are back in stock.


becky kelly studio said...

On Facebook, Dorothy asked me which version came first. To answer Dorothy's question about which painting came first of the two versions- I'm not sure! (actually, there are three versions.) A LONG long time ago, before computers and digital storage, way long ago, back in the 1990's, I sent this image off to a card company to be scanned for use on a card. In the mean time, another company wanted this image for a book. So I painted it again from memory. Things changed a little bit just because memory is not always perfectly accurate. Then, I was asked to do it for a calendar. A calendar has a much larger format (about 12 X 12) My images are small. So, I did another one with more background to fit with the larger format... each version is slightly different. Although it is the same idea. I think I played with different things in each one. The other print has an older girl, I wanted her to have longer more awkward legs and she doesn't have wings. The ladybug is resting against her. Then I did this one with ladybugs reading, and chose to make her younger with just the toes showing...I think this one was last.

Anonymous said...

Hi Becky,

I first chanced upon your art in a quaint little bookshop in your book 'Magig Little Moments'. I fell in love with all your paintings since!

Thanks for taking the effort to share with us readers/fans on the inspirations and intricacies of your art..I was amazed that so much more thought went into the little details than I had expected- the movement in the fairy's hair, the choice of a cotton dress..I'm looking forward to 'scrutinizing' these details when my prints arrive and try to imagine the thoughts that went into them!

I would love to know how you got involved in painting as a profession!

With love,

Anonymous said...

Thank you! this is my favorite one