My client wanted a watercolor done of the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse for their parents at Christmas. Here are some of the steps taken to create this painting
I received an example showing what they were thinking of but they wanted a warmer looking day maybe with some sun.
I found a sunnier shot of the same area that had a great array of sunny color.
I also took a look through my own photographs to find a shot taken of that same bay while we were on vacation on the coast of Oregon. This just so happened to be a beautiful sunny day when my husband and I hiked up to the lighthouse a few years ago with a couple of friends.
A deja vu image that keeps coming back? I sure do. The third time around is a rendering in watercolor… step one.
Using my reference images I sketch in the collage, changing what I want. Most of the change is the desire for movement in the collage. The way I’m approaching this is changing the singer’s face in a more Hispanic flavor, with hair flowing up and twisting around. Another change is to make the piano keyboard dance in a curve around the guitar. I use resist on the piano keys and other white areas that I want to reserve. Then lightly wash in some of the shapes to see if I am happy with my layout.
This image keeps showing up for another round? This is round three. I wanted to enter a Spokane Watercolor Society Show and couldn’t get this idea out of my head. So, I decided to give it my best to render this scene in an ultimate fashion then possibly it would not keep coming back.
I begin with finding great reference material to work from, showing characters and instruments well, placing them in PhotoShop and printing it out. The print sits right next to me as I paint this musical collage in watercolor, my ipod singing in the background with all my favorite tunes.
Have you ever had an image that kept coming back for another round? I sure have. I had a vision of music being played on various instruments by a singer, sax player, trumpeter and hearing piano going all at once. A very brightly colored dream set in Florida tones. The first time I painted this inspiration was with a quick sketch in watercolor.
This 8×11 framed original is available for purchase.
This is a gradual process adding lights and adding darks detail after detail…. Back and forth. I am feeling like I finally have succeeded in creating an image that is the person in front of a reflection. Now to just finish up all the details.
I keep the photograph that inspired the portrait close so I can measure and make sure that the features are correct. Just a tiny bit off will make the portrait totally wrong. I am trying to get real good at likeness now. Always striving to improve.