Friday, August 13, 2010

Reference from Life

While I work from my imagination a great deal, when I need reference for something very specific I often work from photos. However, the chance to work from life is always welcome and so I'm often on the lookout for nature's little treasures - acorns, pine cones, feathers, etc. My husband fished this exquisite dragonfly out of the swimming pool the other day in the hopes that it was still alive and just needed a helping hand out of the water. We were too late though and this little guy had passed on:
I wanted to preserve the dragonfly properly, but when I read that the standard method involves using acetone which is "volatile and explosive" I had second thoughts and went with the 'stick him in a shadowbox and cross my fingers that he doesn't rot' method. I took a bunch of pictures of him as back-up in the likelihood that my method doesn't hold out for very long.

He did lose a little bit of his luster after just one day and his iridescent eyes faded to opaque, but I think he is still a little jewel. Dragonflies often work as a nice extra detail in paintings, so it'll be nice to have some first-hand reference.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Halloween in August

With the adjustments to the sketches for my book dummy now complete, I thought I'd take a short break before starting the painting phase to work on a promotional piece. Continuing on the theme of cats, I added the last details to this sketch this morning:
This piece is actually a re-make of a painting I did back in art school. If I remember correctly, I believe the assignment was to illustrate a cover for Cricket magazine either on the theme of Halloween or possibly for the month of October. I had been fairly pleased with the original composition, but have had it in mind for some time that it would be nice to revisit this image and put more time into the final art than I was able to as a student. I remember back in school I had originally drawn the little mouse to the far right much more plainly and it had been the excellent suggestion by one of my classmates to dress the mouse up for Halloween and have it trick-or-treating. I think that simple suggestion really helped to make the painting.