July 11th Through July 17th
Divination, clairvoyance, intuition, these are all witchy aspects that I love exploring with my creativity. I even completed an entire collection of composites around the concept of intuition. So this challenge was exciting for me and unlike other challenges where I had a tough time coming up with a concept, this week presented a different obstacle. I had too many ideas!
Should I do a Third Eye piece? Or one with lots and lots of eyes? Scrying? An orb or a mirror??? What about runes or bone-throwing?
But a lot of those were concepts I had already explored. Not with traditional artwork, but they still felt stale.
And things only got more difficult when I started doing a little research about different divination techniques. I was looking for more inspiration (probably not the best ideas in this situation but I was craving something new, something I had never done before). And oh my gods, there are so many kinds of divination! Some of them are pretty weird too.
One really stuck out to me, though. Aruspicina. Divining the future using…. entrails. I can’t say why I was drawn to this exactly, I just was. The concept called to me. Pulled at my intuition, if you will. Lol.
I was nervous about doing something so weird. I mean, entrails are kinda gross so the concept was really fucking out there. But I have learned that when I am drawn to a specific idea, I have to see it through. When I don’t, I get distracted while trying to complete other pieces and they don't turn out as well.
There was just one little problem. I already had a sketch that I was really excited about. A Third Eye Witch inspired by one of my past composites.
This sketch looked great! I was excited about it and knew I could do a really great job completing this piece. Something bothered me about it, though. It wasn’t really a challenge. This week felt too easy. I wasn’t stepping out of my comfort zone at all with this.
I decided I should follow through with the concept of Aruspicina.
I’m so glad I did because this sketch is DOPE.
It's so weird and creepy and totally outside of what I usually create. I was a little concerned that my community wouldn’t respond well to it. But I decided a long time ago to make art that I love, art that excites me. Even if it's not art that sells well. I have just never understood the idea of turning something I love into something that I am not as excited about. Because lets be real, if I wanted to spend all day working on something I don't really like, I would go get an office job that offers medical insurance.
So here I am, doin the risky thing.
My skin tone techniques have improved immensely over the past couple of weeks but this still proved to be a little difficult for me. I wanted to give him a slightly darker complexion, a little more olive toned, but I am not sure I pulled that off. Also, muscles are hard! I will need to do some anatomy studying if I am going to get those right.
Still though, this piece was off to a good start and only continued to get better.
I was undecided about what color I wanted the Warlock's eyes to be and what style I was going to paint them, so I left the eyes for last. I wanted to make sure that the color I chose did not clash with the color pallet I already had going and the colors I was considering using for the background. Additionally, I didn't know if I would give him pupils or have his eyes hazey or no irises at all. So I just went to work on the rest of the piece.
Painting the entrails was pretty straightforward. But the struggle I had finding inspiration images to draw from, oof! Perhaps I did not look hard enough, but I had a hell of a time finding intestine images that were in this kind of sprawled out composition. In the end, I had to cut and past several images and manipulate them with the Puppet Warp tool to get them at the correct angle and spread out the way I envisioned them. This may have been the most work I have ever done just to get to a sketch. They turned out pretty okay I think, but please forgive any scientific inaccuracies.
The background developed from the idea that there would be a pool of blood underneath the entrails. However, it would not make sense to execute the entire background in my signature watercolor style, all in red. This posed a bit of problem. I have never done this type of background using two different colors before. Not until this week, at least. I thought that using blue for the top half of the background would offer the essence of a night sky and, if I manipulated the paints correctly, the blue and the red would blend in the middle around what is sort of the horizon line to create a magical purple color.
So, that decided what color to make the eyes.
Just irises and not pupils, for this Warlock gave him a mysterious look that spoke well to divining the future.
I love this piece and I am really glad I listened to my gut (pun intended) and followed through with this slightly out of the norm concept. My favorite part is actually the background. The way the colors blend and the soft, magical feeling really make this piece much more approachable. It somehow turned something that is strange and kind of gross into something super pretty.
If that piece is not for you, that's okay! I went ahead with the Third Eye Witch as well.
This one went even better, in my opinion. The skin tones developed so well with the hints of red at the joints and the addition of blue to the shadows. I am excited to develop this technique more in the future.
You can clearly see that I took inspiration from my Pandemic Intuition composite, but I went a little further by giving her some strange severed, floating arms that adding an extra layer of weirdness to this piece.
I was anxious about executing the eyes because, well, most of my other pieces feature a lovely veil for anonymity, so I have had little practice with eyes in the last five or so years. But I knew this week’s challenge was going to force me to do eyes.
I should definitely practice eyes if I plan on doing them more in the future. At least, irises. The eyes that are foggy are fine, but the iris of the third eye is not up to the standard I would have liked. Perhaps I will consider doing a weekly challenge around improving my eyeball skills.
The hair on this piece also turned out really well. I suppose I can stop avoiding it like the plague now. But trying out some new hairstyles would probably be a good idea.
If I am completely honest with you… this piece was not supposed to have a background. This came about out of necessity when I set my phone on the top left corner of the piece and it left a lovely smudge that I couldn’t remove (rolls eyes). I must learn to be more careful.
Art is about finding solutions for your problems though. And I think that the background turned out really cool. The piece may not have even been as amazing without it. So I'll call that smudge a blessing in disguise (or whatever it is bright and happy people say when they turn something shitty into something good).
There were just a couple of finishing touches to add to this piece. I wanted to have my signature framing style on this one, a couple of diamond shapes placed to accent the composition. When I first sketched I was thinking I would use either my gold or silver paint pens to add these accent lines, but when it came time for that, the pens were not flowing properly. It could be do to my relative experience with them or perhaps they just are not a very good brand. Either way, the gold was not coming out in a continuous line and the silver would flow well for a moment, but then have a break. I didn’t really want to just use my black micron pens, though.
I ended up taking a chance with the silver paint pen. Maybe not my best decision. It was very finicky, and I had to do a lot of back and forth to get a consistent line. And then….
It fuckin got under the bottom of my ruler and smudged about a quarter inch. A big, shiny, silvery OOPS on my beautiful painting.
I was pretty upset.
A little strategically place paint and it was like nothing happened though. Sometimes I get real dramatic when something like this occurs in the studio. It’s a good thing no one is usually around to hear it.
Oh, by the way... she has rune freckles and I just find that so charming!
I have to admit; I think this has been my favorite challenge so far. The two pieces I created are so magical and weird, they give me life just looking at them. I’m also very proud of myself for all the new things I've been trying and how much I have improved some of my techniques.
Can’t wait to see what next week’s challenge has in store for me.