Saturday, February 28, 2015

Friday, February 20, 2015

Painting of the Day

“Blaze of Fall,” 7.5” x 13” mixed media on illustration board
Copyright Sara Light-Waller, 2015

Monday, February 16, 2015

Painting of the Day, “Summer Pasture”

“Summer Pasture,” 7” x 9” mixed watermedia on cold press illustration board.
Copyright, Sara Light-Waller, 2015
“Summer Pasture” is a mixed media painting with an underpainting of acrylic, then overpainted with watercolor and gouache.

“Underpainting” refers to the laying down of an initial wash of color before the rest of the painting (which I’ll refer to here as “overpainting.”)  It's a traditional way of unifying a composition through color.

For the underpainting in "Summer Pasture" I used a graded wash of yellow to yellow-orange acrylic. When this was dry I did the overpainting in watercolor and gouache. Because acrylic won’t move when dry, I was able to lift off color bringing back the original yellow/yellow-orange color as needed.

I’m pleased with “Summer Pasture.” The underpainting pulls the composition together, giving the feeling of warmth and strong sun. Though the colors are somewhat unrealistic, they imply realism, which I like. I find the juxtaposition of translucent color (gouache) next to transparent watercolor satisfying. And the brightness of the gouache adds interesting “pop” to the painting.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Study for the Constellation Canis Major

“Study for the Constellation Canis Major” 8” x 11” casein.
Copyright, Sara Light-Waller, 2015

Let me start by saying that Canis Major is a tough shape. The poor dog has to sit up to fit all the star positions correctly. And this shape is just plain awkward! In the old star maps Canis Major is shown as a greyhound, a coursing hound. (All the better to chase Lepus, I suppose.)  I decided to change him to another rabbit-hunting breed, the Maltese Pharaoh Hound. I thought the Pharaoh Hound's erect ears and reddish color might add interest to the constellation's otherwise static shape.

In order to show the dog’s color in harmony with the star field, I shifted my previous yellow/purple color palette to orange/blue. I also changed the look of the stars within the dog, making them bright points of light.

So how did the study work out? 


I like the way the colors turned out, in both the star field and the dog. That said, I prefer the warmer yellow/purple palette to the cooler, orange/blue scheme. I also like the way I painted the stars in Lepus better, they’re more subtle and allow better appreciation of the animal as a whole.
"Study for the Constellation Lepus"
Copyright, Sara Light-Waller, 2015
What's next?

I may do some sketches of Canis Minor and see how he can work in the composition for my final painting. Because the little dog has less stars in his constellation I may be able to put him into a more dynamic running position without compromising the look of the old star maps. More to come on this soon...

Monday, February 2, 2015

Study for The Ship

"Study for the Ship," casein 8" x 10"
Copyright, Sara Light-Waller, 2015

Today’s painting is a study for the space-going sailing ship in my story.

Smaller studies like this can be very helpful. They let you work out problems before getting into  a larger painting. For example, this galleon has a lot of parts, too many for clarity at its eventual small size. Viewers will want the IDEA of a galleon, with enough details to be accurate but not enough to be distracting. Through the process of drawing and painting this ship here, I've worked out what can stay and what details need to be either simplified or done away in the final painting.

I like the way the ship is looking here. It’s not overly-colored, allowing Space to be bright and colorful, which it is. LOL I still need designs for the pennants, but I'll figure that out soon. 

Next up… Canis Major.