Part 9: Creating a Critter from My Mind

Hawk was just way too dark and scary (lower image below), so I lightened both her eyes and eyelids (upper image ). I also tried a muted orange color on her lower eyelids, which seems to suit her beautifully.

BUT! Now, the color of her beak looks totally wrong. The following short lesson in color theory explains the problem:

  1. Alizarin Crimson (a red) contains a wee bit of blue and was used to mix the beak colors (when mixed together, red and blue create purple).
  2. Most of her fur/feather colors are mixed with yellow. Yellow and purple are complementary colors and when placed beside one another, both appear brighter.
  3. The beak now looks a yucky purple/pink and sticks out like a sore thumb (pun intended). The beak’s shadow sections demonstrate the “purple problem”.

Thankfully, painting with acrylics is like putting on makeup – super fast and easy to change.

I have authored several lessons on painting. These two are FREE until Sept 12, 2017:

Painting Supplies for Beginners: Selecting painting surfaces, brushes, soap, palette knives, palettes, and paints

https://www.drawspace.com/lessons/1431/overview/painting-supplies-for-beginners

Color Theory for Beginners: Introduction to the fundamentals of color theory for painters.

https://www.drawspace.com/lessons/1438/overview/color-theory-for-beginners

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Part 2: Creating a Critter from My Mind

Using oils to paint a smoothly-blended, multi-colored background is relatively easy because of their lengthy drying time. On the down side, additional layers can’t be added to the background for a few days. Conversely, acrylics dry within minutes and therefore entail a different painting approach.

Thin layers of acrylic paint can be added over one another as soon as the paint dries (15-30 minutes). You can even “erase” (paint over) mistakes and sections you don’t like.

If you want to slow down the drying process, mix a little “retarder” (manufactured by Golden) into each paint color. However, make sure you thoroughly mix the retarder into the paint or you’ll end up with lumps (paint that didn’t get any thinner).

By working the background with layers of thinned paint, I can simply play with values and colors. The background colors are similar to those I plan to use for the emu’s fur/feathers (yellows and browns).  I begin with a few thin base coats to establish preliminary values and colors (which will no doubt change as I work).

My chosen light source is from the upper frontal right. I plan to paint the background’s darker values behind the emu’s lightest values (on the upper right and right side). Conversely, the lighter values need to be behind the darkest values (on the lower left and left side).

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