Several weeks ago my youngest daughter and her friend went to visit the Austin Acquarium. During their stay, she took several photos which she shared with me in case I wanted to paint them (my family is good about that.)
I’ve been behind on painting pastels due to commissions and getting my business kicked into gear to support myself. This week was to see me get back in the studio to do what I really LOVE. I have collected many reference photos to paint from, and I couldn’t decide which one, so I posted 5 of them on my Facebook personal page and asked people to vote.
The limey green lizards won by a landslide.
Usually a 9X12 painting does not take a whole week to finish. I’m generally known as a fast painter. But this piece was a huge challenge! It looks as if all you’d have to do is put down a lot of green…but I’m telling you that I learned very intensely how and why the impressionists talked so much about how important it is to put warm and cool colors next to each other. In addition, I learned how effective it can be to paint with small, short strokes and even dots. The texture on this painting is due mostly to that technique.
I also learned that I do not like Uart 600 grit paper. Give me 400 every time. The next time someone gives me free 600 paper, I will be giving it away to someone else instead of trying to use it. This isn’t the only painting I’ve tried on it, and every time I have been disappointed. Because it is so fine, I guess, it is not only easy to fill the tooth, but also easy to lose the tooth entirely if you try to brush off pastel to regain tooth. Then the painting is ruined.
Here is the actual photo:
Doesn’t that third lizard have the funniest tilt to his head?
I transposed the image to black and white to be able to see the values clearly, and superimposed a grid on it to help with the drawing.
Then I commenced painting.
It is very often that an artist needs to create something that is an interpretation of a photo…I am not, and have never been, a photo-realistic artist. I confess that I don’t see the point of copying a photo to the point that you can’t even tell it’s a painting.
But also very often an artist gets the drawing in a realizes that some things are not correct and will have to be adjusted. In fact, that’s what making art is: making one mark, and then responding to that mark. It’s a series of corrections.
At any rate, it took me an hour or more a day to get this to happen, and several layers of fixative. For context, you need to know that I NEVER use fixative. I’m happy to say that I have used all of the 600 and will be back to painting on my beloved 400 immediately.
Here is the finished piece.
This will soon be available in my print shop. I think it will be more appropriate printed on things like magnets, mugs and cards than as an original painting, but hey, if you absolutely love it, it will of course be available right here in my webshop as an original.
I need a clever saying to put on it. Something that will make a sort of meme. What would you caption it?