22 January 2011

[art] Painting a Space Scene: I Am Not Putting A Bird On It.

Me and acrylic painting have rather discovered each other.

So far, so good.

There is a book by artist Michael Carroll called Space Art. I found it at the Multnomah County Library, and as I am addicted to how-to art books, I checked into it. When I did I found an amazing thing: the spreads, instructions, and photos are amongst the clearest and explanatory I've seen yet. They were so good, I could actually see myself doing the steps, and when book-based instruction is that good, you know you have to try it.

So I did. The Earth From The Moon is the first project in the book. Here's how mine turned out:

1) Laying in the sky:

That be a nice thick coat of M. Graham "Mars Black" (no, no Moon Black, sadly).

2) Lay in the base of the Earth

The Earth is depicted a little bigger than it really would be for effect's sake and to make it a bit easier to paint. Just before this I'd flicked a nice rich starfield onto the black sky with a toothbrush. It's like being back in sixth-grade art class again!

3) Blocking in the Lunar landscape:

The great blue ball looms: a white pencil line traces out the hillside and the horizon.

4) Filling in the Earth and establishing the Lunar landscape:

Things started to get complicated about there. The continents were painted in in hints, then white paint was used to indicate clouds by dragging it here and there with a sponge. It is something I was completely new to, and though I don't completely like the result, the sum total is definitely more than that of the parts. I gained a great deal of experience here in what to do and what not to do: what brushes to use and what I might think works better next time.

A gray was mixed for the lunar landscape. Now I lay that in.

4) Rocks and such with sponges:

The rocks and the white highlights were laid in with sponges. I am finding that I have a lot of learning to do in using the sponge for satisfactory results. Could be worse, though; I am a beginner, after all.

5) The finished work. This artist has a long way to go until he's mastered lunar craters, and the landscape on the left isn't all that convincing, but the hills in the distance give the perspective and the feel I was looking for.

My first outing with acrylics, my first artwork in far too long. It shows my rusty spots, but I got it fairly close to what it should look like. I also find I'm enjoying acrylics a lot more than I thought I would ... and am not nearly as intimidated by them as I once was.

Acrylics are, indeed, nifty!

And, as I said, I did not put a bird on it.

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