Saturday, March 30, 2013

Elephants on Parade

One of my projects this month included a large gouache painting for a nursery. The patron who commissioned this piece is about to give birth to her fourth son and requested a line of elephants to represent her boys. She also requested that I use a specific technique, which I will happily share with you now. First, I draw the image (outline and some value) in graphite. I use spray fixative to keep the graphite from smudging before doing large washes as under painting, usually in burnt sienna. In this case I did the sky in purple.

At this point the painting looks terrible. My husband suggested I start over, but I thought to myself "It's not dead yet!" and pressed on. Here you can see I added top layer of gray on those brown elephants…

but it isn’t until I lighten the value with the blues and greens that the muddiness goes away. After both layers of paint, I go back with the drawing pencil. The backlighting gives the illusion that the sun is starting to set. Go to sleep sweet baby.


  1. Love this! What medium did you use?

  2. Thanks Hanna. I used pencil and gouache (opaque watercolor).