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!

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. 😀

Digital Painting: Underwater Exploration

This week I made a digital painting using my computer and bamboo tablet. I’ve been looking to improve lately with that medium so I thought that making some more space-art would be a fun way to do so. This time, however, the crew (Michael and GG) aren’t in space, they’re underwater!

To be more specific, they’re on a planet covered in deep oceans. Michael is scanning a species of seaweed while GG whirls around in the water.

Below are my process pictures and the steps I took to paint the scene. I used the art program Paint Tool Sai.

Step 1: Rough Sketch

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First I made a really rough sketch of the general idea and shapes of the drawing.

Step 2: Linework

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After the sketch I created a new layer to draw the lines. I also made the sketch transparent to make it easier to draw on top of.

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Here’s the finished linework.

Step 3: Background

 

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After linework I created the background using a couple of different brush textures. I imagined the environment to be a deep, expansive ocean, and a little mysterious.

Step 4: Coloring the Foreground

 

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I wanted to experiment with the textures a little bit so I chose a brush that looked kind of like pastel or crayon.

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This is what it looked like after most of the coloring. This was the most time-consuming part of the whole process XD.

I tried very hard to fit the colors to the background/environment and learned a lot, I think. For example, what is brown over a white background looks orange when over a blue background!

Why? My guess is that the way we see color is very much based on the lighting of the environment surrounding it, rather than the true color.

I just realized now that the tanks kind of look like hot dogs. Let’s move on.

Step 5: Finishing Touches

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I made quite a few small changes to finish up the painting: I changed the color of the lineart to match the colors a bit more, colored in the bubbles, added some more rays of light, cleaned up edges, and blurred some of the plants in the background to create depth. And, of course, I put a little signature on the bottom. 🙂

Overall this was very fun to draw/paint and I hope to do more digital art in the future. Thanks for reading!

The Final Frontier

While waiting for all the snow to melt outside from the blizzard last weekend, I was keeping busy with practicing watercolors. One of my goals this year is to improve my drawing and painting, as well as to develop a unique art style, so I’ve been trying to hold fast to that goal. So far it’s been very fun.

For some reason I’ve been interested in “space” stuff lately, like galaxies, astronauts, and fantasy space-travel. I’ve always loved looking up at the night sky, feeling incredibly small, and wondering what it would be like to actually be in outer space. Becoming an astronaut in reality is not something I’m really cut out for, though, so the next best thing, I think, is creating the dream through art. 🙂

Peaceful Planet

 

So I created these two characters, Michael and GG, who travel through space as explorers, landing on alien planets and discovering new galaxies.

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Linework

Green Planet

Finished Painting

Michael A. Earnhardt is the name of the astronaut, and GG, his little robot-companion who keeps him company during the often-lonely journey through deep space. Together they have all kinds of adventures.

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I think it’s the romantic nature of “exploration” in general that draws me to this particular story. I like imagining the vastness of space and the tininess of this crew, journeying across light-years in a cozy little ship. That’s what I’m trying to convey through these works, so that others can maybe experience the same feelings as I do.

Michael In Space

I’ve been trying to experiment and improve lately in my color choices. I researched “color theory” online a bit, and I’m still not entirely sure what it means, but I’m attempting to think of color in terms of lighting- as in how a light source in affects the whole environment in the same way, changing its colors accordingly. It’s still a struggle to pick colors that go together, but I think practicing is definitely helping a bit.

I’m not really sure where this project is going at the moment. So far it’s just a few random scenes, but I’m thinking about maybe making a few comic pages or experimenting digitally with these two in the future.

Holiday Painting

Happy holidays everyone! I haven’t updated this blog for quite a long time. School has been keeping me busy, but now I luckily have some free time. 🙂 I hope to get started on a new book and do a lot of art!

Like I always do, I waited til the last minute to get presents for my family this year. I still needed one for my grandpa so I decided to paint him something. XD

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Using a picture for reference, I started with a quick underpainting of the major forms in burnt umber. Then I went right ahead with the green, mixing the colors as I went along.

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I’ve never tried underpainting before, and I like how it added a layer of warmth beneath the colors. This time I also tried to emphasize the brush strokes to create a more impressionistic look. It was really fun to paint because of the speed and free movements.

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And here’s the finished result.

I’m excited to try this method again with more paintings! I like the oil paints a lot more than acrylic. They create such a soft look, and it’s so easy to blend colors.

Anyway, I hope you all enjoy the holidays!

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

Land of the Midnight Sun

So I just arrived back home after my two-week trip to Norway. In a word, it was amazing.

Purple Flowers with fjord

For the most part, I stayed in a little cabin my family owns way up in northern Norway, in a town called Burfjord. Because it lies so far past the arctic circle, in the summer the sun doesn’t set. It’s a little hard getting used to going to sleep in daylight, but the breathtaking landscapes are well worth it. Armed with a camera, a journal, and watercolor paints, I was determined to try to capture them.

While in Norway, I started a little travel diary using ink and watercolor. It began as a way of keeping memories for myself that I’d remember more than just pictures. Now that I’ve created quite a few pages, though, I’m considering turning it into a project to share with others 🙂

Painting in Norway

Here’s a few pages from my journal that explain how I arrived and a little of what I did when I got there:

Views from new york to oslo

Day 01

Day 02

Day 02 fishing

Day 02 fishing supplies

It was really fun painting with watercolors and trying to improve.

view of fjord from kitchen

a cloudy night

Overall, the experience was one of the best of my life. I had been to Norway a few times before, but I was so young that I hardly remembered it. I can already tell that I’ll remember this trip forever.

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.