Love’s Sacrifice #2 (still unfinished)

I’m still working on my bigger project, ‘Love’s Sacrifice’ although I’ve been struggling with my health in the last two weeks as well so I’ve only done about 2 hours of painting in that time.  I’ve completed the background, laid in some basic hair and begun to add the final colour to the body on the right hand side.  I’ve not allowed myself to extend a project beyond a week or two before and I am finding it’s lovely to take things at a more relaxed pace.  Anyway, this isn’t a finished picture, but here’s where it’s at at the moment…

 

My plans now are

  • to complete the body colour, adding a small soft reflected highlight on the right and the main direct highlighting on the left,
  • to finish the hair properly and then
  • to add the crown of thorns and the marks from him being scourged by the soldiers.
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Autism and Trying to Paint Freely

This week I worked on trying to paint more freely with watercolours.

I have a mild form of autism.  While this is good in some ways, in that I can focus really deeply and have some cool interests and I always try to obey the law exactly, it can also be difficult too, sometimes for the same reasons!  When I’m really focussed on something I really hate to put things down unfisnished and I’m not great at listening when I’m really concentrating.  I have to have a rule with myself about my interests so I don’t go on about them continuously and become boring for others.  But the thing that’s difficult in terms of painting is, oddly, this desire to follow the rules exactly all the time.

The trouble is, with painting, following the rules translates into that childhood thing of not colouring over the lines.  Now that’s great if I’m going for a realistic or comic style look, but there’s more to art than that.  I really love looking at art which is more impressionistic and expressive where the colour doesn’t always stay within the lines.  Some of this type of art is incredibly beautiful.  But I find it almost impossible to do.  So, with some help and encouragment from Ink Flamingos and Alli Farkas , I had a go…

My first attempt was to draw a green woodpecker…

When  I began painting him I spilled the paint all over, but then immediately dabbed it up with a tissue.  Below is the best I could do to have the paint go over the lines.  I really hated it.  It made me feel like swearing.

Then I put on some blues for a background…

Again the paint was moving about and I felt quite distressed and ended up dabbing a lot of this up with some paper towel.

Then I got quite annoyed with the painting and tried to tighten it up ‘properly’.  I ended up just making a bad realistic style painting where I attempted to correct the errors…

You can see in this picture that, rather than have the movement of the ink over the lines as a part of the beauty of the picture, I corrected it and reworked it to try to get rid of it.  It doesn’t work at all.

I felt really fed up with this and I very nearly gave up on the whole adventure at this stage but then I decided to have one more try.  This time I thought I would paint the back ground very free and wild first and then paint a more standard watercolour figure over it, using limited areas of wet on wet to control the paint.

I also thought carefully about the colours I was using.  I used a deep cadmium yellow for the background with a pthalo blue over the top.  The pthalo blue is a nice transparent blue with a bit of a green tinge to it naturally.  So I thought that in the places where the yellow paint sat behind the blue it would go green and might add some more to the painting.

Again to try to make it loose, I began with a gesture drawing of a woman doing that dangling thing on some cloth which you sometimes see in a circus act…

Once I had the gesture I filled out her anatomy and gave her crazy hair…

 

Then I painted the background.  This was SO hard – it felt like I was deliberately spoiling the picture…

(I couldn’t help but remove the yellow that went onto the body area with a tissue.) Then I went back to painting more carefully to finish…

I know it’s really only an expressive background with a figure which maybe has some expression because she was drawn from a gesture, but it’s better than I’ve done before.  I think I might try some biological styled drawings with more expressive backgrounds like this next.

 

PS:  Sorry this post was late going out – I was unwell Thursday night, yesterday and this morning.  Getting better now I think!  😀

Love’s Sacrifice #1

So the bigger project I’ve been working on in the background these last couple of weeks is a picture which came out of the words of a song we sung at Church this Easter.  The phrase which really stuck with me was ‘love’s sacrifice’.  I just couldn’t get the feeling of those words out of my head and eventually they became a picture.

Here’s my sketch.  It actually took a few tries to get there with this image because the body position was quite difficult to pull off – particualrly his left hand which is mostly hidden by his right knee…

 

I drew on A3 cold-pressed watercolour paper and was planning to paint with Winsor and Newton watercolour paints.

However, I couldn’t quite picture the colours or style I wanted.  So I photographed the sketch and then made a quick colour study in the computer.

At first it was like this…

But I didn’t feel that the background colour was really working, it seemed too flat to me, so I tried a few different colours…

 

 

Eventually I settled on this colour plan for my painting…

 

So I began painting the figure with some lighter skin tones…

 

Then I gradually deepened my colour and added more shape to the shadows…

There’s still quite a lot of work to do here.  I need to fill in my basic background next and then finish the loin cloth which is going to go much darker under his right leg.  After that I have this idea of switching from watercolour to black ink to put in a layer of much finer detail to the portrait.

 

Health Problems

I was hoping to have this finished by now but I’ve had some problems with my medication for the neuropathic pain condition I have – my body is not responding well to it at the moment.  So I’ve been taking less and consequently I’ve been in a lot of pain for a while now.  It was OK here on my blog for a couple of weeks because I tend to post things a long way ahead of time but now I’m right up to date and still too sore to paint.

Plans and Ink Flamingos

Anyway, I’ve got less I need to do next week after work so maybe things will get a bit better.  If I get a chance to, I will finish this painting, but if I have less time I might have a go at a style of art I’ve been talking to another artist on WordPress about.

Last week Nicola, from Ink Flanmingos did a really interesting and beautiful piece based on Merton College in Oxford…here’s a linked picture…

‘Merton College’ by Nicola at Ink Flamingos

Here’s a link to her blog too…     Merton College by Ink Flamingos

You start with a drawing and then do a really loose colourful wash over the top before tightening it up with more layers later.  It looks amazing and I was thinking, when looking at it, how hard that would be for me, because splashing a loose wash on seems, well, mega scary.  I love precision and tight lines when I’m painting and they’re almost like a security blanket for me, but I actually really enjoy looking at the results of much freer work which other artists like Nicola can do.

So we’ll see what I manage to come up with.