Prince Charming--- Sometimes I get ideas for painting just by hearing someone talk about their life or experiences. I was listening to a coworker talk about her little girl who is very girlie but yet would not be afraid to pick up a frog or snake. That snippet gave me the idea for this painting-- "Prince Charming". I totally give the credit for the idea to the mom and plan to gift the painting when I am done.
The composition is a composite of my niece holding a cell phone and many, many trials and errors at posing the crossed legs. I searched through all my reference photos for just what I had in mind.
I had an idea about how to do the tutu from an earlier painting of my daughter dancing with her doll.
I experimented with squares of complimentary colors to give the background texture and define the edges of the tutu. My color palette consisted of Quinacridone Red, New Gamboge, and Antwerp Blue. The green of the frog was a combination of the three. The purple is supposed to compliment the green, but I'm not sure I pulled it off.
I did the black and white value photo near the end to gage where to punch up the contrast. (I always like the black and white better than the color--- it just seems more dramatic.)
I used the bottom 4 inches of my paper to experiment with the confetti squares, and was a little disappointed when it didn't fit into the finished composition.
I had the shoe ties curling off the paper which lead away from the girl and frog center of interest, so I cropped them out with the matting.
So--- the big question is..... what's gonna happen when she kisses him?!!
I had a photo of my daughter being fitted for her wedding dress. The Dressmaker was a painting from the time I took the photo. Five years later, I am finally getting to paint it. The original photo had poor lighting and a cluttered background. I used my photo program to exaggerate the lighting and printed a highly contrasted reference photo. To go along with the theme of my painting, I used India paper, which looks rough and "handmade". It has imperfections that look like fabric and really soaks up the water and paint. You can lift out, but must be careful. I "invented" a watercolor eraser by wiring a strip of micro cleaning sponge around the tip of an old brush. This helped me be more exact about lifting without scrubbing too hard.I also used the traditional sketchbook value study with pencil and water so that by the time I got to draw on the paper, I was very familiar with what I wanted to do. I used rabatment to enlarge the photo to fit the paper, being careful not to erase much and leave any ghosts on this soft paper.
This was important, because usually when I am excited about a painting and plunge right in, I end up struggling to correct mistakes that should have been worked out before.
I had been watching an art series about old Masters and Rembrandt "Chiaroscuro". This painting begged to be painted with that as inspiration. I left out the clutter in the background but added a mirror to reflect us watching my daughter in her special moment.
While the painting is essentially a portrait of this talented seamstress, this is one of those paintings I've done for myself. As I painted, I thought back to all of the memories we made during the preparations for her big day, and truly enjoyed the process.
Happy Painting! :)
I think it is important to share our process with others, just as we gain from watching other artists work.