Making it My Own
Here's the finished raccoon with her crown of birds. Despite my use of source material, I feel this piece is now truly my own. Yes, I was inspired by the beautiful raccoon face I found in a photo on the internet, but this painting is my concept, my composition, my drawing and painting, and my decoration using elements that are typical of my work. Now for the ups and downs as I worked through the painting.
Here's where I ended in last week's post.
Obviously, the raccoon wasn't finished, so that's what I worked on first. I painted all the hairs with a liner brush, so it was slow - even, at times, painfully slow - going. As I worked, I was aware of preserving the highlight on her back even though the fur there is actually dark. When I found myself getting tired or bored and therefore sloppy, I stopped for a while,
I decided to darken the background, except for the center of the bird group, and added more white spatters. By the way, I used washes of transparent dark blue and purple to darken the background, so the earlier white splashes were now lighter versions of those colors.
Next, I knew I'd need to finish the birds before I could determine whether or not I was finished with the raccoon, and when I got to that point, I knew the raccoon needed more work, specifically deeper color. In addition to working with the liner brush painting individual hairs, I also added solid areas of color, softening the edges with my fingertip. This is most apparent under her chin and her lower side.
Though I was now happy with the raccoon and pretty happy with the birds, I didn't like the piece. I felt it was boring and the color, unexciting. I discussed the problem with Judy, my art friend, and she suggested having the birds carry flowers in their mouths. So I decided to add them as well as decorative, textural elements to the piece overall, especially around the edges and in the background. This would amount to adding decorative elements which I frequently use in my work - the 'tried and true.'
This was the result: splotches, spatters, squiggles, spirals, color smudges, and tiny little flowers. I'm satisfied with it, but also I know I could have done better if I had decided to add flowers as well as the birds from the beginning. I would have made flowers and leaves that were bigger and more integrated into the overall design. Maybe I'll start again and try that. Oh, and also, I don't like the falling pink fluffball in the background at the right, at the same level as her mouth. It was supposed to be a comet, but I now realize the shape is wrong.
It would be fun to do it again. I hope I can find the motivation.
Cropped, it might be nice for a card.