Posted by: shadowbrooke | July 25, 2007

“Autumn Fairy”: afterthoughts

autumn fairy

I just finished my new painting called “Autumn Fairy” today. I really like how the colors turned out. I’m also happy with the wings. I love to paint delicate transparent wings. The little acorns were fun to paint as well.

Technically, this is one of my best watercolors work I think. I use mostly watercolors with very, very little gouche for little highlights. For the last few paintings I’ve experimented with combining watercolors and water-mixable oils. Though the results were satisfying, I actually prefer using watercolors more because I love the way it makes my painting looks so “clean” !!

This is by far the biggest sized painting I’ve done: 12.6in x 20in, making scanning a pain in the neck, esp at 300dpi. I like working big like this though, I could go into the detailing of the face and the wings easier than with smaller sized paintings.

Also, I’ve discovered that I work best on watercolor-paper Hot Pressed at 140gsm. Even though 300gsm was so much more convenient (no stretching of canvas needed!), I didn’t like it because the surface of the paper is so course due to its thickness. The colors also stains more on 300gsm papers, making lifting and blending colors extremely difficult.

For 140gsm, I have to wet and stretch the paper before use and tape the edges to my drawing board as securely as possible. The paper is so delicate and I draw directly on canvas before painting so this forced me to be very, very accurate with my drawing lines. However, all these extra hassles really paid off once I started painting. Somehow the 140gsm smooth thin surface lends itself so well to my brushes. But this only happens to me, I think. Most people actually preferred 300gsm paper. I’m such an oddball!!!

All in all, this painting is a good lesson. I will start to paint more at this size and use watercolors almost exclusively to achieve this sharp clean look. 🙂

Posted by: shadowbrooke | July 12, 2007

Freya: painting review


Freya (Freyja) is the Norse fertility goddess. She is known for her beauty. She shares half of the dead lost in battle with Odin. She travels between realms with her hawk-wings cloak. Her sacred animals are cats; they pull her chariot.

To depict Freya I chose to capture her beauty and femininity. The Caracal cats were chosen to be her animals for their fierce and strong nature. The hawk wings on her head to signify her cloak. The dragon is added to put her on a “pedestal” for stability and to increase her sense of importance.

Done in watercolors and gouche. I waited for the painting to dry and layered it many times to bring out the colors. For details, I use a size zero brush. The textured background was created by painting the “blobs” in. I considered using sponges but in the end being a control freak I had to paint in everything!

This is also the first painting that contains Celtic knots. They are simple in design as I’m just beginning to create them. I bought a book on creating your own Celtic knots and hopefully will be able to add more sophisticated knots into my later paintings.