Today's picture

Today I start the final stage of a new painting. This is the first in the series of designs which hopefully I can sell to a card company. My studio is the smallest room and crammed with books, reference material, shop cutouts, toys, and general Stuff. There is just enough room for me...and Peter Rabbit.

My workspace. Chad is the official studio bear, to the left.

The original idea for 'Party Food' came from a page of doodles. This is often how the best images are started, when you're relaxed and having fun with a pen.

The first informal scribbling. At this stage there is no food.

To make the image more 'commercial' - that is, to fit it into a season or celebration (which is a top consideration for most card companies), I added festive food. This is the last sketch, with jottings to remind me if something needs moving in the actual painting.

Finally, I think about what colours I'll be using. Every year there is a new industry standard collection of colours and the trends for clothing, accessories, cards etc tend towards them. I try to veer towards what I believe are the 'right' kind of colours, but obviously I have my own personal palette and paints that I use frequently. To help me get the right balance, I keep special scrapbooks, full of clippings from magazines and papers. I've got 40 now and they are my most valuable reference tool.

Chad helps me decide which colour scheme to choose.

Now for the scary part...I always use Arches 140lb cold pressed paper - it is smooth, stretches beautifully and will take quite a lot of punishment. After the first light base wash of a yellow tint, I continued with a wash of a lovely new watercolour from Winsor and Newton - a nice dirty rose called 'Potter's Pink'. It is almost like a goauche and I used it for the background wash, with a drop of ox-gall to keep it smooth. But it streaked badly, and I ended up mopping it all up - at first I thought I'd have to write the whole thing off and start again, but then I realised that the sponged/weathered finish (where the paint had stained the paper) was actually rather nice. Now I'm using the same technique in other bits of the work. Here we are halfway through the painting. I'm still nervous at this point, in case I choose the wrong colour.

I am obsessively tidy...the little bit of paper with squares on
is the experimental palette I develop as I go along.

1 comment:

Janet Metzger, Artist said...

I am enjoying the stroll through your old posts ;-)