Well, I am all cowboyed-out… got the hankering for western themed paintings out of my system. This week I feel a little dark, and a bit randy to boot. Summer weather is upon us, and a middle aged man’s thoughts turn to flesh… be it a steak on the barbie or his unsuspecting wife looking so edible in summer outfits….
This painting took perhaps seven hours all together, broken across 3 night sessions. As a source, the figure of the girl is based on a stock photograph called “Night Song” by deviant artist “mjranum”, from his/her deviant art page. The way the subject exposes her pale neck reminded me of vampirism, and the pose also gives me mixed signals of artistic grace as from ballet/dance and also a feeling of eroticism. The combination of those led me to the idea that she was not a victim so much as a willing participant, perhaps summoning her dark lover to ravage her throat… yet will it feed her lust, or will it feed it’s own hunger for flesh and blood? (“Mmmm, virgins!” says demon-Homer Simpson, lol…)
I tried a different approach in painting this time. I used multiple layers, the first was the basic sketch of the girl, then separate ones of “final” detailed paintings for her head, another for her arms, and a third for her dress. These were done in gray scales, as I found from the cowboy paintings that I can work much faster and with more realism, perhaps because I am used to a lifetime of pencil drawing and not using color. Once i had a rather nice product, I added a background layer, 3 layers of mists (foreground/middle/distant), and a layer with the demon. The girl was “colorized” using the hue/color/saturation menus. That is sort of like playing with the color and brightness settings on your television. The rest was painted in color. The mists were actually very nice at first, but I had made the girl too saturated, and so instead of toning her down, I tried amping up the mist layer’s contrast and saturation, which wound up destroying the realistic smoky feel, yet promoted a “supernatural” and “fantasy” feel to the painting.
The demon started out as more mists, with hints of a ghostly humanoid shape to it, but as I kept “thickening” or sculpting that mist, it became more of a demon materializing from thin air. None of this was planned, and I actually spent more time painting the girl’s hands than the demon and the mists… and to me it shows. Perhaps when i get past the burned out feeling of the time spent so far, I will go back and blur the demon a bit and play a little more with color schemes… I am happy with the colorizing experiment, but not so much with the outcome visually. I see a difference in the level of detail and quality between the different pieces of this painting, and it does not allow for a cohesive feel to the final. On the bright side, this time around I saved stages of the painting, and it is also easier to delete or repaint layers of mist without disrupting other parts of the painting… the hard part will be to figure out how to add more of a sense of depth and dimension (thru sharpness and highlighting) and also drama (thru color). I think I will study up on Caravaggio.
After I see my wife wants to go out for a bite.