Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Vacation... Sorta...

As I mentioned before, since my deadlines for any current commissions or projects are past the holidays, I have given myself the gift of play. As in, I get to play in my studio and do whatever I want!

I was so excited for Monday to roll around, because that would be my first play-work day! YAY! And then Monday came and I suddenly found myself realizing it was the 10th of December and I hadn't squared away a single person on my Christmas list. Oh, dear.

So, instead of playing in paint, I surfed in retail nightmares. I made some progress on my holiday-to-do list, but none in my studio. In my head, however, things were cooking!

I decided to cut my Halloween witch watercolor free from my hot-pressed block. I didn't like her anymore. She's making me grumpy and I think she's beyond redemption. Cutting her away and exposing that lovely white paper beneath was so wonderful!

It's a really large space, and I realized that I needed to dial myself back a bit. There's no need to fill it all! It's not like a canvas, where you have to; I can cut paper down to size! I drew out a three segment set-up, and I knew the biggest piece was going to be used for my first experimental snow queen:

All sketched out and ready to go. I thought about a figure, but I've been wanting to do a face on a larger scale.

My masking fluid is a bit... questionable, but I blocked in her eyelashes and some random snowflakes, and then got to applying some color:

Underpainting skin tones with purple first.
I am finding it is hard to get my brain on the same page and to remember to NOT load the brush up as you do with normal paint. Watercolor is probably good for my brain, because it dumps all my habits on their heads. You can see where things went a bit off the rails, but I'm hoping as I work my way through it'll all come into focus. This paper just sucks the pigment down and isn't very forgiving to my colors. I'm going to order a new watercolor set, and I have high hopes it'll help (be more workable, I'm positive it's the paint and not the paper.)

Layering in some blues, along with a sienna wash for the skin tone.

I find myself getting impatient. I need to walk away and let things dry out. It's so odd, when you work with acrylics and you have to work quickly or it dries, or with oils and you can over mix it and then have to wait forever (I miss my oils, I'll be digging those out soon too. I've decided to do a fancy Victorian type of Santa in my oils.)

Layered in some reds, and more blues. Her hair, I originally wanted white, but now I want blue so the snowflakes will show up. You can spot the masking now pretty easily as they showed up after I put the washes on. The right side has some wonky parts with heavy pigment, but I'm going to push the pigment layers to hopefully make the image pop anyway, so it should all even out. *crossing fingers*
I have a long way to go. I'm not sure if I'm going to keep the background blue, or layer in some purples or greens across it. I think her cloak should have a white trim, but I'm uncertain if the cloth should be white also. I think so, though. I like the "cold" feel to it in white (now I just need to figure out what color to use for shading. I've kind of boxed myself in as I usually shade white with blues, but with her blue hair... Well, maybe if I push the pop hard enough, I can still shadow lightly in blue to give a white effect? Hmmm.

Anyway! On the left of the snow queen, I have two more squares to play with. In one, I am planning a holiday spider, spinning a snowflake. On the other one? I'm not quite sure. Maybe a fairy? Or a kitten with a cup of hot cocoa or something? Any ideas, I'm open!

I figure I'm playing. Or I'm trying to play. Deep down there is the "Don't screw this up, you could make something you can sell and this won't be a waste of your time!" voice. I'm trying to fight it with the "You're kinda on vacation, lady, so chill! Play! So what if you have to throw a sheet away? Take some time, and enjoy it!"

So, I'm trying to enjoy it. Making your favorite thing your career isn't always as easy as one would think it is. Because no matter how successful you become, you still need to make an effort to keep it as a favorite thing and not lose that sense of play!

I even took time to read a book today. In my pajamas! Unfortunately, it was about zombies and I think my stress level was higher after the book than before it. Well, it was a good attempt at relaxing, anyway!

I'm looking forward to more work on my Snow Queen tomorrow! It's a major bonus for me how quickly watercolor goes compared with acrylics or oils. Anyone paint intricate snowflakes before? I'm thinking about that too...


Cameron said...

It is a hard balance, isn't it?! I have that "need to make something to sell" voice in my head, too....and it drives me crazy! Now that we're approaching the deadline for shipping, I'm doing my best to just tell that voice to to enjoy the Holiday and come back to bug me in January to get me to start making Valentine's goodies :)

Your Snow Queen is looking wonderful, so far....I'm sure she'll be magical when finished!

Magic Love Crow said...

Your snow queen is looking beautiful! Have fun! The holiday spider spinning a snowflake sounds like a lot of fun! I am loving your ideas! A book about zombies wouldn't relax me either! LOL!

Kyra said...

Man, I haven't even thought about Valentines! LOL

Kyra said...

I'm actually going to start on the spider today!

Jess said...

I love working in watercolour but it wasn't always this way! Once you get used to the drying time it's so fun because it's very quick and spontaneous to use. You're doing a great job and I like the sound of your Victorian Santa in oils, I shall look forward to that! :)
Jess x