Sunday, January 27, 2013

Peacock Portrait

After "The Sky is the Limit" I was inspired to quickly move on to my next commission, a portrait of a peacock! The lady who I was painting for said that she liked the peacock for its religious symbolism. I wasn't familiar with the symbolism, so I looked it up so that I could incorporate it into the painting.

The peacock is a symbol of eternity, so I wondered how I might paint that in. I think about forever when I look at the stars, so I decided to paint a starry night sky that reflected in the first row of the peacock's feathers.

As soon as I began painting the light green feathers I realized that I should have made the sky purple because purple and green are contrasting colors. I had already removed the masked stars so I painted the next two purple layers carefully painting around stars. The result was worth the time, creating high contrast. This painting was a challenge in many ways, and I enjoyed the challenge!

I had to pull out my Daniel Smith watercolor sample sheet to find the right colors for a peacock. I also found some iridescent sample colors and added some shimmer. You can't see it in the scan, but it is really pretty! Parts of the head and neck shine, along with the blue "eyes" of the feathers and the little green feathers close to his body.

I have fallen into a nice working schedule that I am going to try to keep 3 to 4 days a week, working 10am to 5pm on illustration and art commissions. I have plenty of time in the morning to read and get chores done and then I have time to make dinner and get ready for our evening activities. I like it!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

SCBWI The Sky is the Limit

Can you find:
a tea pot
an aviation pin
two snails
three airplanes
a four leaf clover

I am very pleased with this illustration and very excited to see it in print on flyers and posters for the 2013 SCBWI Iowa Spring Conference!

Illustration is hard work: Here is a picture of me collecting references for this piece.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Sky is the Limit WIP

I am working on an illustration for the Society of Children's Books Writers and Illustrators! This will be used for their promotional material for the Spring conference in Iowa. This is a sketch of my third concept. My sketches are always very loose because I enjoy doing all of the thinking and problem solving on the actual illustration paper so it stays fresh and lively.

I attended my first conference last year and really enjoyed meeting other artists and writers, learning about the industry and receiving my first portfolio critique. I wanted to capture my experience in this illustration.
Owl represents those who come to the conference with a manuscript to be read by an agent or publisher. He is trying to relax with his wing behind his head, but you can tell he is a little nervous.
Cat is enjoying Owl's story in the way we all hope our life's work will be enjoyed!
Rabbit is an illustrator. Working hard on sketches.
Hedgehog is enjoying a completed and published book with Mole, who just popped up for a surprise visit! All five are important for the success of a book (as are many others.)
The snail represents perseverance, the slow and steady work that it takes to succeed.

An aviation/sky theme is woven throughout keeping with the theme for the conference, "The Sky is the Limit!" Can't wait to paint this!