Tutorial: Part Seven Picture

Original Size: 7.5x10
Medium: Ink, Water-dyes
Copyright Notice: 2008 by Bob Giadrosich/Sharayah Press. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited by law.

Tutorial: Part One, Concept
Tutorial: Part Two, Pencil Outline
Tutorial: Part Three, Pencil Detail
Tutorial: Part Four, Ink Brush Work
Tutorial: Part Five, Ink Quill Work
Tutorial: Part Six, Under Painting Violet

This stage features Part Two of the under-painting, where I added two different blues, in this order:

LUMA: Peacock Blue
LUMA: Slate Blue

The Peacock Blue is almost a royal blue, and leans towards the purple side of the spectrum, while Slate Blue is more a move towards the true blue spectrum, if you will.


A word or two about blue

Why include the blues in the under-painting process? For one thing, it helps further the depth of the painting, pushing things back visually so that not all the objects are on the same plane. Where the violet layer helped define form, the blue layer acts as the first real shadows in the composition.
Another reason is that the blue helps to neutralize, or "de-purplize" the violet. In other words, the blues will help the other colors, when laid on top, to retain more of their actual hue.

Let me explain it this way; if I were to lay my chosen color pallet for this image directly on top of the violet layer, the vibrancy of the violet would come through in most of colors, overpowering the color until it no longer looked like the color it is supposed to be. The violet would take the role of a colored filter, influencing the color on top, and while I want it to do that to a small extent, I don’t want the violet to be the predominate color at the finish of the image. The blue layer helps to knock the violet tone down a notch.
Another aspect of the blue layer is that it helps to unify, and at the same time, separate, various elements of the image. It helps the eye to scan the image and start seeing shapes instead of everything in one color.
So the question becomes, why include the violet at all? One can do an under-painting of blue by itself. Famed Irish artist Jim Fitzpatrick, in many of his early paintings dealing with Celtic mythology, used an under-painting of Pelican Blue India ink, spraying it with a coat of "workable fix" in order to "seal" the layer so that his pigment wouldn't disturb the under-painting. Having tried Jim's technique, I felt that it left the figures appearing too gaunt when topping the blues with other water dyes. Jim would lay thin layers of acrylic on top of the blue under-painting, and being more opaque, it seemed to work fine when used in mixed medium.
The violet gives the form and vibrancy, the blues knock it back down and provide shadow and a solid base to build up the other colors on. Believe me, all this prep work will pay off in the end, lending your composition a firm foundation to layer your other colors onto!

Areas of Note:
I'm starting to work independent of the linework at this point, suggesting texture on the rocks and other areas along the wall. If you look at the leaves in the upper left-hand corner, you'll see that I've put very little blue on the leaves themselves, instead concentrating on the shadowed areas underneath the leaves. This will help define and bring the leaves forward when I add the various shades of green in the next stage.
Traveling straight down, you can begin to see where I've started paying special attention to independent shapes and to suggest some of the texture on the rocks with the blue dye. The faces are starting to take on a medium level depth, and by the time the eye gets to the bottom of the left-hand side, the leaves are given the same treatment by painting the rocks behind them (in the lined areas), while letting the violet color remain dominant for now on the leaves themselves.

On the figure, I've used the blue to reinforce my shadows and highlights. At this point, the color saturation doesn’t have to be uniform in application; in fact, it is sometimes good to let the color be uneven in spots to create a modeled affect as this suggests a shifting light.
On the bottom right-hand side, I've tried to eliminate all the highlights altogether, as this area will be in almost complete shadow. The colors will be subdued at best as her body, close against the wall, is blocking the main light source. Notice how the dark under-painting, combined with the cross-hatching under and to the right of her hair, throws that areas into a darker shadow than the areas without the cross-hatching.
Above her head on the upper right, the area will be brighter, with our light source coming from the upper left.

Remember, this is just my way of approaching the medium, based upon what has worked for me in the past and the type of look that I am after. You may want to do something completely different! Ultimately, it is really a matter of choice. That is, after all, why it is called art and not science. Personal expression and experimentation are the hallmarks of what will make your piece, yours.


Next: Browns and Greens
Continue Reading: Figures