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.