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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Lessons learnt

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.

xxx scarlett


Sabbio said...

Scarlett, I love this bonsai girl! She's really cute, love her pose.

Concerning the lessons, I totally agree with those points... it's difficult not to cross the line between learning from one's talent and being discouraged by this talent. The example of Mark Ryden's tend to discourage me ^^ How can he paint the pilot's clothes? How long would it tale him to paint the whole piece???

Thanks for sharing and by the way, don't worry, your talent is obvious ;D

Gina said...

Great work and that other stuff is so cool.

Sabrina Eras said...

Your work is simple amazing, too beautiful, you´re very, very tallented :D

And Audrey Kawasaki is one of my inspirations too. She´s perfect for me, I can look to her work all day long :)

Art By MAR said...

Great post! Interesting how different things work for different artists. I feel the same about the heavy outlining. I love how it looks on other's paintings but could never get it to work for me.

butwhymommy said...

I love that new piece. I am a fan of your girls and the new one is very cute.

Thanks for sharing some of your favorite artists.

Cascade Lily said...

Good lord that Ryden piece is out of this world. Love the blue-suited man in the car!

I am totally lusting after your Keds shoes too by the way :)

Trin said...

This is a great post; I always love to compare one artist to another, and see what's similar or dissimilar in their respective styles.

Kelly said...

I used to ALWAYS want a bonsai tree when i was little. I had a fad. I even got books out from the library! Haha

And I have that Lydia print! :) My fave of Audrey's work.

Kill Taupe said...

I think your Bonsai Girl turned out wonderfully. ^___^

Also... TAG!

You've been tagged. ^___^

RyoJul said...

I love your style. I just love the way your girls look.