Thursday, June 17, 2010

Butterflies & Roses

Butterflies & Spray Roses
8" x 10"
Polychromos on Fisher 400 paper (mounted to gatorboard)

I did something last night that I haven't gotten to do for a long time: stay up drawing past midnight. This is one of the perks of moving my studio back home. The cons of course being the clutter of all my supplies and distractions, but I'll take the late night drawing sessions!

A lesson relearned: Have you ever printed out reference photos where you lighten all the shadows to see what is in them and use both the dark photo and the lightened photo in your drawing/painting?  All I can say is be careful. You can change things obviously from a photograph or life, but changing lighting is a tricky business. I printed out a dark and a  light version  of the reference for this so I could see all the subtleties in the flowers and see the edges of the bug which did not show up in the dark photo. Well... I started the flowers first with just a bit of the background in... all was going well until I switched to my darker photo for the rest. The result was garish - the flowers did not match the rest of the picture at all.  Think about it like in writing... you should not change your tenses from 1st to 3rd person in the same paper. Why would you be able to change lighting on the same drawing ? Anyway I fixed it, but it was a bit of a struggle to remove the lightened details in the petals since the lighter colors in colored pencils have more wax/oil...

That doesn't say you can't lighten things a little bit, just not so much where it is mismatched or changes the light source only on one part. Like let's say you are doing an adorable drawing of your child... but the way the light is hitting him/her his eye color is hard to see because they are in shadow. What should you do? Either draw it without the pretty eye color as in the photo or retake the reference photo with the right lighting to see their eye color! If you bring the eyes out of their shadow and don't change the lighting on the rest of the face - it will look like a demon child!

My beautiful daughter above has gorgeous blue eyes when light hits  them but when the eye sockets are even in a slight shadow like above her eye color does not show. So maybe I'll just pop up the color... I could make the eyes look gorgeous, but what  I'll have is gorgeous eyes but a final portrait with lighting that doesn't make sense. People won't know what is wrong perhaps, but their psyche will pick up that something is off.


MrCachet said...

You did the butterfly & roses in one sitting? Outstanding. I di my latest, but it took me nearly a week to get it done. I'd like to see more than a blog post image however, cuz the blog posts don't do the final product much justice.

Dors said...

I love this. Roses are my favorite flower and i adore butterflies. so this really jumps for me. great job Nicole. Lovely composition.