August 1st through August 7th
Galaxies are one of the first subjects I explored when I began my journey with watercolor almost five years ago. They seemed like a simple subject, one that wouldn't be too hard. I love the way they flow and blend, so I figured it would be an easy feat to paint with this unfamiliar medium.
I was wrong.
My first galaxy painting was an award, messy, swirl of colors that maybe sorta kiiiiiiiinda resembled a galaxy. At least there were stars. That had to count for something.
What I didn’t realize then was that galaxies are not an easy subject to master. They may seem haphazard and random, but unless you know the technique, they easily become overworked and decidedly un-galaxy-like.
Thankfully, I have had plenty of practice with galaxies prior to this weeks challenge. There was still a slight problem, though. It's basically impossible to sketch a galaxy. In fact, I’ve never successfully completed a galaxy in a dry medium (graphite or colored pencils). Sure, it can be done but I won't be conquering that erroneous task any time soon.
But then how do I show my process for this blog post if I can't sketch a galaxy?
This was a bigger problem for one of my concepts than the other, and it is not something I found a solution to, unfortunately. My second concept looks acceptable as a sketch although it leaves a lot up to the imagination.
I wanted to try a new pose for this Witch, something out of the ordinary from what I have been doing lately. A Witch with her back turned seemed like an interesting way to go. Plus, no eyes on this one, which is a definite bonus.
She has a ring of planets surrounding her (I know, they just look like circles, I told you it requires a lot of imagination) but I was unsure about the galaxy aspect of this piece. I figured I would execute it similar to last week’s background with the color of the galaxy around the Witch and her planets and then some stars splattered over the ring of the galaxy that overlaps her back.
After completing the paint job of the Witch herself, I had a brilliant idea. Since her hair and outfit are black, I would put stars ONLY on her hair and clothes. She would be the galaxy. Then the planets would float in a solitary circle around her.
This was very exciting. I loved the way the stars looked with the strategic placement. But let me tell you, insuring that only her hair and clothes got splattered with stars was. so. hard. I did not want to mess up the skin as I feel I did a good job with the skin tone this week and I love I went a little extra heavy on the red at the joints this time.
So I took some scrap paper and tore away pieces to puzzle together over the skin and the planes before adding the stars. It turned out well. I had to clean up a few stray stars, though.
Painting the planets was a ton of fun. I used a combination of five different blue colors, a very very tiny brush, and a lot of patience. And they turned out great! I really can't decide which of the three larger planets is my favorite.
Do you have a favorite? Let me know in the comments below!
Finishing this piece off with an outline like I always do was the most challenging part of this piece. I knew I would outline the Witch, but I was not sure how the planets would look with a harsh black outline. Seeing the witch outlined but not the planets on her back was strange. I outlined those in black and they looked fantastic. Yet I was still hesitant to do the same to the other planets. I knew they needed some sort of finishing, though, as their edges were not at all clean.
In the end, I gave them a very thin blue outline. I think this was the right choice. They look great.
I’m honestly not sure how this piece could have gone any better. I absolutely adore it. From the contrast of the Witch and her Planets to the Galaxy on her hair and clothes, everything just looks sooooo good.
As I said at the beginning of this post, I had two concepts I wanted to do this week. Unfortunately, the sketch for the second one doesn't look like much and I failed to take process photos as I was painting. So all you get for this one is the finished piece. Sorry!
This is a novel approach to the challenge. Surreal and strange, this piece is more Galaxy and less Witch than the first.
Working on black watercolor paper is one of my favorite things, but not every piece is conducive to it. I knew this concept was the perfect fit, though.
Overall, this week’s challenge was a good one. I got to do a little something different, practice my technique painting planets, and create a dope black and white painting with contrast that literally gives me life.
Like these pieces? They will be available in a couple of months, and the very lucky people in my Collectors' Coven get first dibs with an early release date.