Author: sandrafletcher, Contributing Editor
|The WetCanvas! Reference Image Library is a terrific source of inspiring material generously contributed by WetCanvas! members.|
|Browsing through the library, I found this wonderful shot by MissMouse. I immediately wanted to paint it because I could see that this charming subject would provide a framework for me to explore colour relationships.
For example, although we know the adult swan is white, the more you look the more variety you see in the white. See how warm the white of the neck is compared to the cool white of the feathers on the lightest part of the back. I decided that I wanted to make a painting which would exploit these colour changes.
I start by saving the image to my computer and opening it in Photoshop to plan how to tackle the painting.
I decide to concentrate on the group of swans by cropping off the top part of the image.
I want the adult swan to be the main focus of the painting so I decide to keep the tonal value of the cygnets dark to push them into the background
I feel the cygnets are too clustered around the swan's head. I move the
Then I simplify the image, convert it to monochrome and posterize it to five levels. Reducing the image to only five values gives me a really clear plan to work from.
I print out the posterized greyscale image and trace it onto a half sheet of Canson Mi-Teintes paper.
I draw five tonal value squares along the top of the paper. These represent the tonal values in the printed out image. It is sometimes hard to judge how light or dark a colour is so all colours will be checked against these swatches.
|Using very soft pastels on their side, I quickly block in the tonal values starting with all the darkest darks, followed by the lightest light areas.|