Currently I'm working on a large (11 X 14 is 'large' for me!) acrylic painting. I'm just about done with building up the value, and when I'm working on a lengthy project, I have to have something else to do on the side. Otherwise I get restless!
To find a 'side project' idea, I ended up going through my sketchbook for inspiration and found a few thumbnail doodles I'd done, one of which was a spiraling bird design. I solidified the design a bit.
After resizing the design, I transferred it to a sheet of 7.6 X 12 inch illustration board, and cleaned up the drawing.
One way I'm trying to improve my work this year is to spend more time in the sketch and planning stages. Looking back, I noticed I tried doing this earlier in 2011, but gradually fell back into my bad habits of immediately jumping into painting! I'm especially happy with how this piece is starting out, so I decided to do some value studies, and a color sketch.
I did two value studies. The first had fairly steady light throughout the piece (and was quite dark), and the second (seen above) features light radiating from the orb in the center.
For color, I had the idea to use the two birds' natural plumage as a springboard for more 'fantasy' colors. The peregrine is mostly slate blue and the golden eagle is mostly shades of brown, which I used as a basis for a more colorful palette. The colors will not be as saturated in the final painting - this is simply a color sketch for me to see how the colors will work beside one another.
I'm torn as to whether to paint this mostly in watercolor, or to plan on using the watercolor as an underpainting, and then using glazes of acrylic over it. I love watercolor, but there are limitations, specifically when you want opaque effects. I love using white gouache, but I've started falling in love with the effects you get with acrylic glazes. Any suggestions are welcome!