Portrait of MzFee

mzfee_art

MzFee is here depicted a very wealthy mistress seen reclining on a bed in her island palace, where money and treasure are brought to her from afar.

mzfee_r2

First a general composition is worked out in tones – though the final artwork is to be in colour, black-and-white tone helps to establish the balance of the elements. It helps to keep the eye freely ‘circulating’ – from the main subject to secondary details and back again. If the eye gets stuck in a corner and has to make an effort to come back in, the composition has failed.  mzfee_r3

A line rough soon follows. I had reference of Mz Fee’s face but needed to make up the rest of her body and the male figures. Any artist familiar with artistic anatomy should be able to construct without photo reference but it’s always better to have it of course.
The slave to the left has now changed position as MzFee is enlarged and the treasure-carrying slaves reduced in emphasis.

mzfee1
The line rough is transferred to stretched watercolour paper (300gsm Saunders Waterford) and first tentative pencil lines are introduced.

mzfee2
I usually want to make sure the face is completed first, as if it isn’t the entire painting might be wasted. This runs counter however to my general policy of bringing up all parts at once.

mzfee3

mzfee4

mzfee6
Once the main figure is more or less complete I can bring up the background and the secondary figures.

mzfee9Gradually details are added and attention is paid to colour balance – the human flesh and gold/brown of the bed contrasting with the light from the window and deep blue of the sky. So then it is a process of building it all up and deepening the intensity.
I’ve said before that because watercolour painting allows for so little changes, planning is absolutely essential. Just hoping for the best rarely works!

Learn more about Sardax portraiture and commissioning  here

Please remember if you are commissioning for a birthday to leave a few months as there is usually a waiting list for commissioned artwork.

How to draw a high-heel shoe

So someone asked me to show how I draw a high-heel shoe.
High-heels are not easy to draw. I’ve seen the most adept artist stumble over them. The problem is the subtlety of the curves and an understanding is needed of the shape of the foot which they cover.

(Understanding foot anatomy needs an article in itself-even a book -so that can’t be tackled here)

Let’s start with a simple sandal.

Find or buy – or beg for -a shoe and examine it.

A high-heel, like any shoe, is a platform for resting on a level surface.The foot rests mainly at two points – the ball of the foot and the tip of the heel.

These two points are a constant distance apart, in the same alignment and in the same plane, whichever position the shoe is in .

Understanding this is the key to drawing a high heel in any position.

The front area itself will be a roughly pointed oval shape, flattened behind following the shape of the foot . It is not symmetrical – rather flattened on the inner side following the shape of the foot.

The back area (the heel tip) is a much smaller round area often squared off in front.

Any drawing of a high-heeled shoe should start with a rough representation of these areas.

hh1

1)A line to indicate the direction of the shoe should be the first.

Then place in the two areas in a correct perspective (you don’t understand perspective?-come back when you do!)

2)Then you can decide on how high the heel is to be and draw a line roughly perpendicular from the heeltip, and begin to work out the shape of the heel itself. It tapers gracefully downwards at the back. Then you can start roughly sketching the area where the heel of the leg itself will rest – for now you can make this an oval. On higher-heeled shoes this will need to be steeper sloping.

3) Now connect each side of this oval to the lower ball-of-foot area.

Note that the resultant line is curved differently according to its being outer or inner side. Just like the foot itself , the curve is gentler on the outer, more pronounced on the inner.

So now we are almost there for the foundation. If we are drawing a high-heeled sandal the matter is almost finished-simply show a thickness to the sole.

hh2

Follow the same principles for court shoes and other but build up walls from the sole and a covering for the tip of the toes..

Observe the countless ways straps are employed – some very simple, others extraordinarily complex.

(Unless I become a teacher this is the only free lesson I can give – it was a lot of effort to put it together, simple though it seems.)

Portrait of Mistress Kelle Martina

This was a commission to paint a portrait of
Mistress Kelle Martina
http://kellemartina.com

A3 size colour watercolour.

km1

An initial sketch was made on rough paper then scanned into the computer . I prefer to sketch things out on paper-it is also possible to sketch on the computer using drawing software ( Corel Painter ), but I find I can get better results the conventional way.

km2

On the scanned drawing I experiment digitally with colours and tonal balance. Digital is best here for colour roughs as you can change it so easily. This is printed out and the line-work is transferred down on to thick watercolour paper-(for the geeks this is 300gsm Saunders Waterford HP).
Everything is worked out except fine details before the artwork is started. Trying to draw straight on to the paper without planning is asking for trouble.

km3

First lines lightly sketched using diluted black paint. Just as a guide. It will be strengthened later . To the left a sheet of photo references is always to hand.

km4

Now areas of tone start to be blocked in. This need not be too fine as they are going so dark anyway any imperfections can be covered.

km5

More blocking in. The colouring is gradually built up.

km7

At this stage you begin to start balancing all the tones out. I feel that the subject should be glowing so she is the lightest part of the picture. Everything else is dark in comparison to her. This lightness is of course the whiteness of the paper coming through, the unique property of watercolour. Painting white onto watercolour paint is occasionally necessary but is to be avoided as much as possible.

km8

Then you can allow yourself the luxury of cleaning up the details. My basic principle is to work from general to detail. Never to get bogged down in one part at the expense of others. It is very tempting to work up the “interesting bits”- face, etc. and then get depressed looking at all the unpainted background. I feel the best approach is to bring up all the picture together stage by stage.

mskelle

The finished painting.

Interested in a commission?

Please visit www.sardax.com to see this and many others.

Portrait of Modern Empress

This was a commission to paint a portrait of
“Modern Empress” www.modernempress.co.uk

me1

It is A3 size. An initial sketch is made usually on rough paper then scanned into the computer and some indication of tone  is worked out on the file produced. This digital drawing is printed out and the line-work is transferred down on to thick watercolour paper.
(for the geeks this is 300gsm Saunders Waterford HP)

me2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first outlines are traced out in diluted black watercolour paint to define main areas of tone.

me3

Now darker areas of tone are blocked in. This need not be too fine as they are going so dark anyway any imperfections can be covered.

me4

Now comes a gradual definition of tones according to the sketch…

me5

..and of the background too.The tones are gradually worked up

me6

Background is worked up so that it is defined but does not take the attention away from the main character

me7

At this stage you begin to start balancing all the tones out. I feel that the subject should be glowing so she is the lightest part of the picture. Everything else is dark in comparison to her. This lightness is of course the whiteness of the paper coming through, the unique property of watercolour. Painting white onto watercolour paint is occasionally necessary but is to be avoided as much as possible.

modern_empress_cave

The finished painting.

My basic principle is to work from general to detail. Never to get bogged down in one part at the expense of others. It is very tempting to work up the “interesting bits”- face etc and then get depressed looking at all the unpainted background. I feel the best approach is to bring up all the picture together stage by stage.

Interested in a commission?

Please visit www.sardax.com to see this and many others.