Master Study #2… and Merry Christmas!

This master study here has been finished for a week or two now, I somehow just completely forgot to post it – here it is.  This is a study of Julian Alden Weir’s painting “The Christmas Tree”.  The expression of the little girl in the original absolutely makes the painting.  You can see the wonder and mystery of Christmas in her gaze, and unfortunately I couldn’t quite capture it before getting frustrated.  I really bit off more than I could chew with this one.  All those ornaments on the tree… don’t know what I was thinking, but it was definitely a good challenge.

Click image for larger size

This study really helped cement a good workflow for me.  Starting out by throwing down a base color in the background, usually a midtone or something dark to build off of.  Then start blocking in big shapes in one color, not worrying about details.  And then it’s just a matter of breaking the image down into smaller and smaller shapes of color, painting them on top of the previous shapes.  Work from general to specific.   That’s a really simplified process, but maybe it gives you an idea.

After finishing this one I decided I wanted to start making my own photoshop painting brushes, as the default brushes aren’t really cutting it for me.  The brush I used on this one was supposed to simulate the textures of oil pastels, but frankly it didn’t.  Kind of came out fuzzy.  Right now I’ve made a couple abstract/textural brushes that I’m going to play with the next few days, and hopefully the results will be pleasing!  Using custom-crafted brushes ought to yield much more interesting marks too, so I’m excited!  Until then, enjoy the remainder of the decade!

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