I have a confession to make to you guys – I’m a sham. Okay not really, but when I decided to open up shop selling my gemstone watercolour art, I had never taken an art class. I still haven’t (though want to). Sure, I took a class in university (art for elementary school teachers) and a print making course, but I haven’t been properly trained, and it’s the main reason why I feel so uncomfortable being called an artist. I don’t know what the hell I’m doing, I’m just having fun!
But I started thinking about the process I undergo when I create a painting. I have no idea if it’s the ‘proper’ way to do it, and if I were an art student, whether my teacher would nod approvingly or fail me for poor planning. All I know though is that it’s what works for me, and that’s what is most important in my opinion.
So what is my process? I briefly discussed it in yesterday’s instagram post, but here’s the fleshed out version.
First I find pictures of my subject. Tons of them. I look for movement, colour, shading, orientation, size, and so on. Sometimes I’ll combine features to make one figure, or I’ll take the shape of one, the colour from another, the positioning from a different picture and so on. In the case of the above flamingo, I combined the flight/body movement of this bird and some of the colouring of the flamingo from Sharon Montrose’s animal collection. Then I sketch and paint the prototype (above). This might take a few tries to get it just right. Once I do, I trace the outline with tracing paper. As you can see from the top picture, I tape all the pieces together and then overlay them onto the final watercolour page, making sure it’s centred and in the position I want. I then use a sharp pencil to trace the outline, creating an indentation on the watercolour paper.
The last step is outlining the indentations with watercolour pencil crayons, then my favourite part, painting! I can’t wait to get started on that with the flamingo.
So that’s how I go about it, and yep, it’s the process I underwent with each of the gemstones. Again, I don’t know if it’s the smartest way, but it’s what works for me.
I’ve been toying with the idea of doing different paintings for the shop. I was originally going to stick to themes surrounding birth months, but I’m having way too much fun with this flamingo not to share. What do you think, should I?
If you do any sort of craft/art I would love to hear about your process!