Saturday, October 25, 2008
After years of watching my brother grow bonsai trees (yep, big Karate Kid fan - wax on, wax off) it was time to use one in a painting.
For the first time ever I decided to do a study first to check colours and the overall composition:
I'm pretty happy with the way she turned out, but I want her bigger. So I'm currently working on an A3 version. It's all done in gouache on thick mat board.
And I was very pleased to have learnt a few lessons from this exercise:
1. Thick black outlines don't work for me.
I adore the way other artists can use a heavy black outline:
Kill Taupe does it beautifully and it makes his work look cute.
I thought I'd try it on the piece above, but it just doesn't work for me. I think it makes my girls look too cartoony and doesn't really fit with the tones and shading I put into them.
Audrey Kawasaki creates a dark outline around certain parts of her art which works really well (check out the hands below). That's closer to where I want to be.
2. Details matter.
Some artists can get away with a minimal detail. I can't!
Audrey Kawasai is able to do it beautifully:
Of course, many of her paintings are incredibly detailed, but she's able to paint people who aren't wearing fancy clothes, or jewellery, or makeup - with no background, no props...and although there isn't a lot to look at, it makes you want to look for a long time.
I can't achieve that in my work. I've figured out that it's the little details in my art that people respond to. The tattoo shapes, the floral hair accessories, the clothing, beauty spots, pocket detail etc. So I'm consciously trying to up the level of detail in my work.
Speaking of detail, I have to mention my favourite artist of all time, Mark Ryden. His work is detailed to the point of obsession!
Take a look at The Creatrix:
Now take another look. This section is from the bottom left hand corner:
How amazing is the level of detail here (and everywhere else in the painting). The man has painted the brand on the block, he has the shine on it's face just perfect and check out the detail on her skirt. When I consider just how much of the final painting this section take up, I'm flabbergasted at the effort and time and care he's taken with it.
And here's the bottom right hand section. From the full view of the painting, never in a million years would I have thought you could walk up and see what the driver of that toy car is wearing (a blue suit, BTW). Insane.
I'd love to have his patience - and skill. Or Audrey's.
OK, back to the paints. I've still got a long way to go.