I sat there for about an hour playing with color schemes for this Griffin painting. I wanted to show the image in my usual style of dynamic skies with a sun just over the horizon. The problem was, all of the blues, greens and violets are all transparent. As a matter of fact, all of the paints in my box aside from three, are transparent. Painting with transparent colors is a real challenge not to get the painting looking like an acrylic or watercolor. When doing mythology or fantastic creatures, a painting can become an illustration really quickly, which is not the goal. I want the colors to pop, but look like fine art and not look like a pop art or fantasy art.
When doing the painting process before actual painting, it used to be that I would just go grab my iPad and do everything from research to thumbnail sketches, compositional layout and color schemes to the final piece, so there would no doubt as to where the painting is going. But working on the iPad I found that the infinite undos made me hesitant and unconfident while working with real world materials. In the real world, there is no ‘undo’ button, you have to think of ways of working with the errors such as incorporating them into the picture, trying to cover them or trying to correct them.
This is when I started to work with watercolors in a journal to work out the painting. It builds confidence for sure because it is harder to paint with than oils, but you can get your results faster than working with either oil paints or an iPad. The watercolors are the same pigments as in my oil paint box, so it makes the transition from sketches to the canvas really easy.
The above picture is the final say with the watercolor thumbnail sketches. Thumbnail sketches are tiny pictures, no bigger than an index card, and usually smaller to help build up your ideas. So, this is the one I ran with in the oil painting.
It will probably be another week before I get to put the final touches on the oil painting. Yes, oils take forever to dry, but the results are lasting.
For the previous posts about the Griffin painting, visit these links: