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.
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.
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.
Gradually 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.