Little House on the Fjord

Today I found a picture from my trip to Norway some years ago and thought it might make a nice painting. It’s of a fjord not far from my Grandma’s house. In the corner there’s a glacier atop the mountain.

Here are the process pictures:

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I’m still trying to get a handle on the medium of gouache. It’s interesting to work with it after painting with oils, which never seem to dry fast enough. With gouache, the paints start drying as soon as I put them on the palette! But I’m learning.

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I also tried a technique called “limited pallet” where you only use a few colors for the whole painting. I heard it’s supposed to challenge you to mix more colors instead of using them right from the tube, and leads to a more cohesive painting. Overall I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out and I think in the future I’ll try an ultra-limited palette just to see what will happen!

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Father’s Day Painting

For Father’s Day this year I painted my father and grandpa a mountain scene. I’m starting to realize that the only gift I really give my parents/other relatives is art. XD I don’t know what to say other than that it is convenient.

Here are my process pictures:

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I started with an underpainting like usual.

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My materials

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Then I painted over the underpainting and realized that it may have been too thick because all of the paint was blending. There was no way I could get the whites white enough without mixing it with the other layers, so I had to wait for it to dry first.

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After about a week, I started working on it again, starting with the clouds. Then I moved on to the mountains and trees. Sorry about the weird lighting in these pictures.

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And here is the finished product!

This was so far the biggest painting I have ever done, at 24 x 36”. It definitely took longer than any other.

It was also the first time I’ve let a painting dry before finishing it. Usually I would paint wet-on-wet, but I’m happy with how it turned out.

I’m excited to try some plein air painting for the first time this weekend! Wish me luck. 😀

Late Night Painting

So I just finished painting a birthday present for my dad:

Burfjord Painting

Since his birthday is right around the corner and I didn’t really have enough time to buy him something nice, I ended up painting him a scene from our recent trip to Norway. XD I always end up waiting too long to get gifts.

Anyway, here’s the photo that I used as reference:

Norway photo

I’d never really painted with oils before, so some parts of the process were a bit difficult. I’ve been painting with acrylics for years, and one of the biggest differences between the two mediums is the drying time.

Acrylic, a water-based paint, can dry in a matter of minutes. Oil paint, on the other hand, can take one or more days to dry. This means that it’s easy to blend colors on the canvas, soften edges, and even rework previously done sections. However, this also causes some difficulty when trying to layer colors on top of one another.

Here is my painting process:

First I found a color for the sky and tested it out on the canvas. As I went along, I drew up a simple sketch using the blue paint. Some people do this with pencil or they create an “underpainting”. An underpainting is a monotone sketch in paint that people use to figure out values before filling in color. I didn’t have enough time to do this, so I just went right into painting the scene.

Then I filled in the water and mountains, using some of the blue paint I used for the sky. Getting the mountains the right color and shade was difficult, and I had to rework them several times. After they were finished, the rest of the painting process moved relatively fast. My method involves painting the scene from back to front. It’s generally easier to paint over the last layer than to try and paint around the one in front.

Burfjord Painting

The final touches of the painting were the flowers. It was a little hard to layer the purple paint on top of the grass, since it kept mixing with the green. Eventually it worked out, though. 🙂

Overall, I’m pretty happy with the result. I have definitely grown fond of the soft look that oil paint has and am looking forward to experimenting with it again, even though it takes forever to clean up! Maybe I’ll paint my dad a Christmas present. XD

Onward

I’ve finally, finally started actual artwork for Solstice. The entire project is behind schedule (like always) but in some ways I feel like I’ve made leaps and bounds. For one thing, I edited the story and fixed basically every plot hole that could arise.

I can’t say that’s true for any other project I’ve ever done.

Of course, I didn’t do it alone. I had great help with editing and talked about the story, its problems, and solutions over a three day period. Now the story is a sparkling version of its former self, and I couldn’t be happier.

Now, onto the artwork!

I’ve had to do a bit of research first on the size of the book, its proportions, and shipping costs before starting to draw. I’m using Createspace, a print-on-demand publisher, and will go into further detail about the process of self-publishing later. One problem to tackle at a time.

Speaking of, I hadn’t realized how much math goes into this:

math and numbers

I’m not a fan of math or numbers, but it’s necessary for my project, unfortunately. I needed to measure out the book page size (7 x 10) and compare it to my artwork page size (9 x 12). Then I had to choose how wide the margins should be in the book and figure out how wide that would make the artwork margins. Yep, it’s a lot of work. Hopefully I’ll only need to do it once or twice.

I’m using 9 x 12 smooth Bristol board for the ink illustrations. Bristol’s usually pretty pricey but I randomly found a discount at Walmart. 🙂

Anyway, here’s the first page, which I’ve inked:

solstice page 1 ink start

solstice page 1 ink middle

soltice page 1 ink finished

Because I’ve chosen to create the line art traditionally rather than digitally, I need to scan each page onto the computer in order to color it. Then I’ll add speech bubbles and page numbers. It seems like more work but I believe that in the end it’ll actually be faster and easier than digitally drawing.

I think I also like the idea of being able to hold the artwork in my hands rather than only seeing it through a computer screen. Plus, its fun to draw with different kinds of pens!

My plan for the coming week is to draw as many pages as I possibly can so that I have ample time for coloring and formatting, which is scheduled for the week after. That’s okay, I wasn’t planning on sleeping anyway.

Fun with Gouache

Over the weekend I really wanted to paint en plein air (outside), but I only had about an hour so instead I used gouache indoors, working from a photograph of mine. It served as a much needed break from the rest of my work.

Gouache Painting

Gouache is a type of water-based paint. I love using it because of its versatility. It can be used like watercolors or acrylics, and everything in between. To top that off, it’s a breeze to clean up.

Montana Landscape Painting

I love painting so much. It’s so relaxing.