Thursday, December 20, 2007

Yuletide Carolers

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of my blog readers! The following is the steps I took to create the final painting "Yuletide Carolers". I have not done a full scale painting in a while, so this was a bit of a challenge. I wanted to create an image of our church with some Dickens style carolers at the front door. The feeling I was going for was a warm inviting feeling, even though it is cold and blustery out. The painting will have a cool dominance to enforce the feeling of cold. The warms were placed at the center of interest. With that said, here we go...

These were some of the initial sketches with 3 values applied. The value patterns show an overall mid with the lightest value at the center of interest and the darks creating the contrast at the center of interest. I was concentrating on creating interesting shapes and not "things".

I then created a more refined sketch. This helps me to get a better understanding of the shapes. I added some marker to some of the shadow areas. I try to keep thinking of shapes and not things.

I created some small (6"x8") initial color studies. These also helped me to loosen up a bit before I dove in.

I sketched the shapes in pencil on my watercolor paper, soaked the sheet with a sponge and applied the first loose washes of the mid values. I made sure that I did not paint the white or light areas.

After letting this wash dry, I was looking at the composition, and decided that I was not happy with it. The shape that bothered me the most was the large shape of the church split the paper exactly in half. I should have caught this at the sketch stage. Since this painting was to be used for our family Christmas card, I was pressed for time. I try to start the work on these holiday paintings early, but unfortunately this was a busy year and the time slipped by quickly. So I created another sketch that resolved the problems. I shifted the view which helped to create shadow shapes which I could use around the light value shapes. The church shape was set more to one side.

I created a more refined sketch to work on the composition a bit.

Here is the value pattern I will go with.

I roughed the shapes in pencil on my watercolor paper, soaked the entire sheet and applied the first loose mid washes.

I then added some dark shapes, using my value sketch as a guide.

Define more mid value and dark value shapes.

Reinforcing values and refining shapes.

More shape refining and a signature.