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Thursday Night Art -- what a day!

ACEO Blue Jay is what I did earlier today, just fooling around before Lisa came over while also doing my latest eHow article. Today has been amazingly productive. It was a good sign that I arted before she even showed up!

Much much more under the LJ cut, including Emerald Sword progress!

I also started this one before she came over:

ACEO Rocks and Spray started from an abstract concept of notan -- of creating a massive interesting dark shape for yin and an interesting light shape of yang, then developing them strongly with a few little details within the light and dark masses. I've been reading about notan in several sources, it's a yin-yang approach to planning composition on value and the results are very powerful. It made sense to me immediately on the first article because I'm so used to the concept of yin and yang -- and I did a long series of portraits in notan reduction, just black shadow areas defining bright white highlight areas, in the 1980s. It wasn't called that then, but the principle led me to do good shadowing on faces!

I salted the dark rocks when they were damp, not really runny, to get a fine-grained salt texture for a rocky feeling a bit beyond just the granulation of some of the pigments. Then had to wait hours to be sure it dried before doing the spray! When I went back to do the water I just grabbed the Indanthrone Blue and Ultramarine Turquoise from the Surf n Shore Triad and they mixed perfectly for the water, so the water's simpler than the rocks too.

Lisa arrived, and I finished the previous ACEO. Then I took a break from ACEOs and did a preliminary sketch for Lauren's "Cat in Garden" pastel painting. I'm probably not going to use this layout, but the sketch is nice and will be in Lauren's packet among the lagniappe pieces. I need to have several sketches to choose from before I decide the final composition -- and should maybe do a Notan sketch to make it really powerful. Also the cat could be dark if I do a Notan sketch.

She worked on an eerie, weird, beautiful yet whimsical garden fairy with pale iridescent green skin, pinkish wings, crimson glowing eyes and wild shimmering dark red hair hiding among black eyed susans with a caterpillar snuggled on her arm. Very cool painting that she took all night working on. Meanwhile I worked fast trying to keep from overworking anything, finished the sketch and went back to ACEOs. Ignoring the contests I need to do good art for tomorrow at that, I wanted to do these subjects instead.

ACEO Misty Banks is a true pastel painting on a light tan sanded Colourfix paper, which I chose to complement the blues, violets and grays I was laying over it on so much of the surface. I painted it with Cretacolor pastel pencils, working the same as I would on a larger pastel but scaled down in size. I blended all the colors together and picked out details again and again, adjusting values and ultimately creating soft natural hues and a twilight feeling to the light, which was entirely from memory and not the lighting in the reference photo I mangled to create this painting. I seriously mangled that photo reference unrecognizably. A detail crop started getting change after change as I sketched from it and rearranged elements to fit the ACEO shape better, and then I worked over and over it to get the shimmering hues right on the dark silty water and the mist-shrouded trees. I like how it came out. I've got to do more miniature impressionism now that I'm daring to put sunny yellow and soft pink into mixes with lavender and bright blue and still get natural tones!

ACEO Sun on Gold Lake was painted directly without a sketch in pencil from a photo reference by Karl, who gave me about thirty of them when he showed me his family pictures from all their camping trips to Gold Lake. I changed a lot of things, cropped it, brightened the day and the colors, moved a tree -- and still wound up grabbing his attention when he recognized the spot and immediately started explaining just how far to the right of this image he always tied up their boat! I love how it came out.

This is how I'd like to paint the next time I go camping in person. I have a lifetime of memories of California and Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and Louisiana... and I couldn't paint like this when I was actually going to places like that. But now I have the skill and it's only a matter of time before my grandkids are big enough to take camping -- and I'll curl up next to the fire with a watercolor diary just painting every beautiful thing before my eyes. Including the campfire itself of course. I can do a value painting by firelight.

I also relisted last Thursday's watercolor landscape:

ACEO Sun Trees Water which was my grand experiment in layering Hansa Yellow with Ultramarine glazes to get surprisingly bright greens. Bright as the adjusted scan is, the original's even more brilliant and lively.

So... counting Lauren's butterfly from the other post as part of today, I did six artworks and a good long article and some serious planning for my SBI site and my book. Oh! Latest update on that. I have a tentative new title that severs any link between The Emerald Sword Saga by Rhapsody of Fire, and my novel written to one of its five albums (and distorting its archetypes so far that I'm using villains as good guys!)

I thought about who the narrator is and what describes him specifically -- and it's not the honking big emerald on his pommel. That stays. Green is a perfectly good heraldic color used by many characters and historical personages, and there are only so many colors that corundum stones come in for sticking on the handles of magic swords. But what he does is guard the kingdom of Arkatyr, he tests kings' worthiness and he does a lot of arcane defense of the kingdom as a whole and the dragons. So the title will probably become The Steel Guardian, by the time it hits print.

Unless a way rich and famous rock lyricist actually has the time and kindliness to respond to an oblique communication and give permission to an unknown author to crosslink and acknowledge the connection. I may still give Rhapsody of Fire the dedication though, because the music did so much to help me get in the world of the novel -- even though their Emerald Sword Saga is such a different world! Shows you how weird the inside of my skull can get!

Also, The Steel Guardian is more accurate to my story. It eliminates any assumptions that he's just a shiny magical quest object to be claimed and used by whatever hero gets through all the traps -- and I establish that in the first scene, so it's no spoiler. It sets up instead that he's what he is -- a guardian arcane, ancient and strong and steel. And like many ancient wizards, a little disorganized and wuffly at times. Unintentionally funny at many of those times. Like the first page when I'm done boiling it down. Why not embarrass my title character on the first page? Mwuhahahaha...
Explore-Oil-Pastels-With-Robert-Sloan.com Articles at eHow.com, ETSY shop, My Bonanzle Booth, deviantART gallery, SFFmuse and look for art by robertsloan2art on eBay. Listed on Art Blogs 4 U
Proud member of the Oil Pastel Society
Interesting art blog: Patrick's Art Blog focused on realism!
New Topical Blog: www.robs-art-supply-reviews.blogspot.com for all the cool art stuff that isn't oil pastels!


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 15th, 2008 12:58 pm (UTC)
hey robert, i can't find kitten's email, and sffmuse is due up in 5 days! or whoever is paying for it? help?
Aug. 16th, 2008 12:23 am (UTC)
Re: OT
I just got your email and replied with Kitten's email. Thanks for the email and note. Would you please do me a favor next year and email me about a month in advance, so we can do something like hold a fundraiser or I can budget it around the other stuff I do? I know it's probably not how you usually invoice but it'd seriously help. We love your hosting service.
Aug. 15th, 2008 04:51 pm (UTC)
The kitten sketch really captures his intense curiousity.

And, if I may be so indelicate as to inquire, is my cheetah commission getting anywhere near the top of your to-do list?
Aug. 15th, 2008 09:35 pm (UTC)
It's high on it right now and I can't find the dang bracelet references. I've been thinking about it a lot, and going to get at it soon, but I keep losing those bracelet references. I thought I put them in a folder for themselves in My Pictures last time you sent them, but now they're buried back in gmail and the last couple of times I looked I didn't get far enough back to find them.

I hate to bother you with it, but could you please send those photos one more time? I'm sticking the folder on the desktop so that it's going to stay easy to find as a reminder to work on it.

I think about every week that I wind up at some point picturing the cheetahs circling the fire, and they get into better resolution every time -- except for the left wrist blur on the forward one who's looking at the other one... I've gotten so close.
Aug. 15th, 2008 09:36 pm (UTC)
Also, "Misty Banks" was a preliminary experiment for it, using the Colourfix. I might not use the literal color of background but choose a complement like that to give it some pop, since I found out just how many layers I can put on it! Combining pastel pencils with the broader pastels to get the details fine will work well.
Aug. 16th, 2008 12:24 am (UTC)
Today's cheetah is from the same group of photo references and something of another experiment. Though your cheetahs will be bigger and in a different medium, it gave me some practice with their odd body proportions. They have small heads and such elegant rangy builds!
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )


2013 Nano Winner
Robert A. Sloan, author of Raven Dance

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