For a Girl

It is finally my girlfriend’s birthday! She’s seen her painting, so now I can share it here.

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I’m gonna start posting the final version at both the beginning and the end from now on. Hopefully that will help show the development better.

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I’ve been telling my girlfriend that I will paint her a picture ever since we started dating. A year and a half later and I’ve finally gotten around to it. She really likes bunnies, so I went with that as my subject matter.

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When I first placed the bunnies on the table, I knew that I was going to need some verticality in the painting to break up the monotonous and solid background. I hung up a blue cloth as my solution and it helped add a flash of color to the painting as well.

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The bunnies were very fun to paint. I felt like a sculptor as I worked away at their large, clay-like forms.

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Session by session I whittled the brown masses down until I had the proper shapes. Occasionally, I had to enlarge areas of paint (mainly on the back of the lefthand bunny, where I fiddled with its posture), but most of the time my painting was a subtractive process.

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Since seeing John Singer Sargent’s watercolor exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts, I have kept one thing in my mind: paint the darks thin and the lights thick. That is how Sargent achieved the amazing depth in his paintings. I tried to mimic that concept in the righthand bunny.

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The only perspectival issue I ran into centered around the shape of the eyes. I had to constantly readjust them. At first I thought the in-light eye on the lefthand bunny was wide and almond shaped, but I realized that the perspective was actually squishing the two corners of the eye together. It took some serious visual measuring for me to get the eye right. I kept adjusting it up to the last session.
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Since I had an entire week to work on the 16″x20″ painting, I decided to give it a little bit more of a finished look than I usually do. I smoothed down a little of the looseness.

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The last thing I did was add a slight blue reflection on the ground plane. Though this did not exist in real life, I felt the painting benefitted from it.

That’s about it for this update. I’m still working on the children’s book and I’m almost done illustrating the first 10 pages.  Also, I’m still drawing friends on facebook. I’ll update next week with some of those drawings.

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4 thoughts on “For a Girl

  1. I like this painting, and I’m sure your girlfriend loved it. Thanks for the tip on the way Sergent painted the darks thin and light thick. I’m going to give that a try. I’ve been a watercolourist for years, and am just starting with oil. Also, thanks for following my blog.

  2. Pingback: A Return to the Past | Oil and Pen

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