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Cheetahs Fire Dancing Sketch

I used Gimp to alter the colors of the scan till it accurately resembled the color of Colourfix I'm using. I drew my sketch in highlights with a General's White Charcoal Pencil, because pastel going over that would just be lightened rather than grayed. I want very rich full intensity colors in this one and will be using a variety of pastels of all types on it. Mont Martes, Nupastels, Pan Pastels, Cretacolor pastel pencils, whatever it takes to get it right is going into this. It's a formidable color range if I start throwing open all my sets -- but I may not need to if I'm selective about which sets to open.

This step was the hardest part of the entire painting for me. I spent about two hours working on this sketch and reworking it even though it looks so simple. Three hours so far on the project, other than planning which has racked up into the hundreds of hours. From here I'll be working systematically in layers, and if it goes over ten hours, it caps at ten hours. I won't charge extra because I know she's waited a long time. At this point I have a burning need to get it right.

The face of the cheetah on the right is gaping slightly, and while I liked that in the sketch I worked from, I may compare some other heads and redo the head sketch when I start working in detail on the animals -- though I'll obviously be scaling it to the same angle and size if I combine references there. The trees and background are actually what will get painted and blocked in first because they are painted looser. I will be working background to foreground, dark to light, loose to detailed and probably do the fire at the very last. The fire sketch may even get largely covered up and then painted in over what's behind it, especially since what's behind it is a cheetah's golden haunch.

I added a ring of stones, just little cairns of rounded river stones, because I felt as if they would be there in this spirit forest. I haven't sketched where the bracelet goes but I don't need to yet. I know where it goes. It doesn't need to go there till I start refining the cheetahs themselves -- next step is A Dark Forest with Gleaming Firelight.

I am considering completely avoiding actual black in the forest, keeping it to rich dark tones and implying black by mixing and by juxtaposing complements for a jazzier darkness. Or I'll do that and dance in some black accents on the deep darks, which will have a lot of ultramarine in them.

I'm beginning to love it despite how fluid and workable the sketch is -- it's going to happen and I got them right on the first go. I didn't get them too big or placed wrong or anything, they are there and they are around the fire and framed by Tolkeinesque trees... this is the spirit forest. This is where I've gone many times, but never to paint like this.

I want the colors richer than life and bolder, so that it has that magical feeling to it and isn't muted and naturalistic. Real yes, but real in the vivid larger than life way that dreams are.
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( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 7th, 2008 04:03 am (UTC)
It is, like Cat/Wombat in Garden, slightly larger than the scanner so the foreground has lost about half an inch of foreground below the last stones and some tree roots. I may have to take photos when it's done to show the entire composition.
Oct. 7th, 2008 03:42 pm (UTC)

The gesture and movement are just right.

I agree that the rich, saturated colors reflect the magic of the dream world.

This is becoming very real, all of a sudden, and it looks absolutely right.
Oct. 7th, 2008 09:09 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I know what I'm doing now, and it'll progress fast in the next few days as I concurrently work on all three major pastels projects.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )


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Robert A. Sloan, author of Raven Dance

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