artist insight

Work in Progress - Ethan Hawk the Rooster

This weekend I FINALLY started the follow up piece to Hannah the Cow. It’s another watercolour on wood painting – this time featuring a rooster. Unlike the previous painting, this guy is a real-life animal named Ethan Hawk! He is a resident of a local animal sanctuary that a friend of mine volunteers at. I just love his feather colouring, and as soon as I saw his photo, I knew he would be the perfect model for my painting!To get the ball rolling on this piece, I started with several rough drafts. My main concern was drawing him big enough to see the detail in his face, but small enough so his entire body fits on the wood board. I probably went through five or six drafts before I got it right. I typically start with the face, but when I did that I repeatedly kept drawing him too big. To help me get the sizing just right, I drew him as a stick figure and then drew and outline around that before adding details. This is my go to method for composition, positioning, and proportions when I work on difficult pieces or limited spaces.I used tracing paper to draw the final rough draft. The transparency aids in figuring out how it will look on the wood since you can see through it.I admit, the grid method would have been prefect for this, however, I don’t like to use it. It’s not a bad technique at all, and professionals use it too, it’s just a matter of personal preference. If you find yourself struggling with the same issues I did, I totally recommend giving the grid method a try.Since I didn’t trust myself to redraw him again, onto the wood, I cheated and used some carbon transfer paper to transfer the draft I drew on paper onto the wood. Carbon transfer paper is great for when you have a solid draft and do not feel confident in recreating it a second time. It’s also great for surfaces that are hard to sketch on like canvas or wood.It was mega-important for me to get his face perfect and for his personality to live with in the art. Since I had placed such intense pressure on myself to do so (kind of a bad habit, to be honest), I went ahead and started with that part first. I figured that way, if I messed up beyond repair, I wouldn’t have invested too much time into it until that point. There have been times when I’ve put several hours into a piece only to hit the point of no return – ultimately having to completely scrap a failed artwork that I had already spent hours working on.Getting his face to feel alive was my #1 goal with depicting him in this painting.Thankfully, Mr. Ethan Hawk’s face came out great! It was a little rough going at times though. An especially textured part of the wood runs right through his face, so getting those fine hair thin lines was not easy. I think I spent about four or five hours just working on his face. I built up layers of different reds, oranges, and yellow to create the crest and area around his eye with thick consistency white to create highlights.Having success with his face was a total boost of confidence going forward with the rest of the piece. I felt like I could breathe easy…and I did for a minute before getting into the yellow feathers of this neck, lol. Wowzers, I mega-struggled with those! I hate to say it, but I had no clue on how to go about them. The process was totally trial-and-error. Yellow watercolour is so completely transparent, and I struggled with depicting the definition of each feather without the whole area just being grey mess. I internally freaked out a number of times while working on them, but I kept at it until I was able to get it right! I’m still not too sure how I achieved that, but I guess that’s just the magic of art, lol.I did a lot of on canvas blending with white and yellow ochre paint.After his neck, I moved onto his wing. Basically, I’m working my way down and around to his tail feathers. The brown feathers were a little easier to paint than the yellow ones, but not by much! I mostly faced the same challenges of figuring out how to create definition and shading with feathers stacked on top of each other. I find the dark colour of the wood makes creating subtle shading difficult.Currently this bird is paused at the half way mark, though I do hope to complete him this week. I would like to keep a flower motif going, as I did with Hannah the Cow. I’ve thought about adding small flowers around his neck and in this tail feathers, but we’ll see. I may only use flowers on the ground with some green clover around his feet.Mornings, with a cup of coffee and a window of sunshine are my best time to paint.I love artwork that has me stretching out my artist chops and seeing how far I can push my talent. I hope you guys enjoy it too! Enjoyment is the gold coin of an artist’s heart. :)Honestly,Sam :]

Happy New Year! 2018!

I spent a lot of time last year working behind the scenes with my art - learning, growing, and planning for 2018. Last year was a very transitional year for me, both in my personal life and professional life, like water flowing down a river headed for the sea.Being an artist in today's time (well a famous one at least) isn't always a simple task. There's so much more to it than just making art, and that can be a little frustrating. I've had to learn how to be a photographer, cinematographer, video editor, and even learn how to photoshop (for digital photo developing). While I love learning new things, I hated how much it all has taken away from making actual art. It made me a little upset for a while, however, I decided that my artist journey is not a race. Heck, even if it is, I'll be the tortise and that's okay. Once I came to that realization, I took my time to carefully build a foundation for my future plans...Which brings us to today!My goal to begin is to create and upload a minimum of one new video a week! I want to share my process and advice with others in a hope to inspire, just as so many have done for me! I've done a lot of learning about how to record video and edit it, plus I recently invested in a new computer in which to work with! I tried making videos last year, but my previous computer was ancient and couldnt function.I also want to get back into the fun that was fan art. While I still will not be returning to the convention scene this year, I do miss making fun fan art of the shows and games I love. To help scratch that itch, I will be posting every Friday as Fan Art Friday! If it's popular enough, I may even take requests for stuff outsode my interests.These fun projects aside, I have begun working on an art series officall titled "40.03". This is a series I have talked about in the past, but has only now (finally!) come to fruition. This series will have a common thread in terms of subject matter and theme, but will be comprised of pieces created in a variety of mediums. Some of these mediums are still new to me, but I am excited to try them out for real and not just in practice. The first piece of the series has already been completed and the second one started.And lastly, my e-mail mailing list will be sent out the last day of each month to round up the content of that month as well as this blog keeping regularly maintained. My online shop and website will also be getting slight overhaul with better images uploaded to the galleries and old works cleared out.I'm not sure if this all seems like a lot or not to you my dear reader. For me, it is a mega-ton due to having a normal, office day job to contend for the precious resource that is my time (a girl's gotta eat). However, I am determined to keep at it and work hard to make my dreams come true - my selfish dream of fulfilling the yearning in my heart to create, and the pure dream of want to fill the hearts and minds of others with emotion and inspiration.I look forward with optimism for what 2018 hold for me and my artwork, and I hope you do too!Happy New Years and cheers!x - Sam :)

Dark Souls fan art 

This weekend I worked on some Dark Souls fan art! I'm not very good at the series, but I love it's aesthetic. I find the characters and monsters to be beautifully, if sometimes grotesquely, designed. So, when a friend of mine requested something Souls related, I happily obliged!To start, I made a light, rough sketch of their favourite characters - Solaire, Oscar, and Gwyndolin. Normally when I paint with watercolours I do a detailed pencil drawing to paint over, however, with this piece... I'll be honest, I got lazy. When i sat down to do the drawing part, Gwyndolin's crown was so ornate that I drew a light outline and left the details for later.I got to work on Solaire first and applied the watercolours as if they were oils. I wanted deep, rich tones, and I find that's most easily achieved by painting in layers - even if it means painting lights on darks. (Typically with watercolours, you want to paint the lights first, then the darks.) It can be a little tedious and time consuming, but the results are so worth it!Once Solaire was mostly done, I moved on to Dark Sun Gwyndolin. His crown was by far the most difficult part of this piece, due mostly to the fact I couldn't find a clear picture of how it should look. I found many interpretations, but the official art work itself wasn't super clear, so I pretty much winged it from start to finish.  Several times while painting it I had to change the shape, which is how it ended up with the glowing effect coming from. Despite being totally not planned I ended really liking it, so I left it in.I finished off the piece with Oscar of Astoria and a bonfire. I used the fire as a chance to try out some new masking fluid I picked up over the weekend. This masking fluid worked so much better than the one I used in my Primadonna Doodle illustration. It peeled off easily and didn't leave any colour residue. To achieve some soft flames, I used the masking fluid to outline the fire and then painted the inside with a combo of red and orange. I used a lot of water to allow the colours to blend on their own by tipping the paper vertical and letting it run downwards a little. I finished the fire by painting the portion covered by the masking fluid yellow - I thought the stylized look it gave the fire complimented the collage composition.From start to finish, it took me roughly nine hours to complete this watercolour painting on 4x6 inch 140 lb watercolour paper. I thought about adding gold ink accents to it, but decided it looked fine without them. One thing I did add at the end was Solaire's red feather. I had meant to paint it once I had completed Oscar, but forgot. It wasn't until I was getting ready to post it to my Instagram that I realized it was missing. I ended up happy with how this turned out, and thankfully so did the person who commissioned it! I'm no where near as big of a Souls fan as my friend is, but I mega-enjoyed working on this small piece. I even feel inspired to play the first Dark Souls again! Praise the sun! - Sam :]