December is always a busy month, not least with the extra Christmas orders but there is a lot of other things going on too (I am sure you have it the same!) so drawing time hasn't been at a high this last few weeks. I have had some client work on the go but I did also manage to fit in two new pieces and as a follow on from my previous blog post, coincidentally, one is made with traditional materials and the other completely digitally.
Without having had much time to explore more on the subject of course I have yet to find that balance between digital and traditional but even so I am really happy with how both of these turned out!
So first came this digital piece, created for my agent Jehane's Twelve Days of Christmas Challenge. Each of her artists hosts a different prompt and the one I was given was Winter Solstice. I immediately knew I wanted to draw a low red sun in the sky with little animals looking on. As dark and heavy as the midwinter can feel I do think of the solstice as a hopeful time of year. Rather than being in decline towards darkness, the parts of the Earth experiencing Winter start slowly turning the back towards the sun and the promise of warmer days, growth and abundance ahead.
The natural world knows this, animals bide their time in hibernation or torpor or living off the reserves they have built up in their bodies and perennial plants and seeds shed last year go into stasis waiting for the soil and air to warm. Always knowing that this time will come. I wanted to get that across in this drawing, that when the nights seem long and dark we should hold onto the knowledge that it won't last forever, which is why the creatures look on, saying goodbye to the earliest sunset with hopeful glints in their eyes...
The second piece I also wanted to make in time for one of the earlier prompts in Jehane's challenge but that thing called time was not on my side! I managed to make it all the same, too late for the challenge but when I have an idea I just really want to get it down anyway and I figured it may even make a nice image for next year's calendar all the same. So here are my Two Turtle Doves:
Somehow I had no idea what beautiful birds Turtle Doves are! I drew them originally onto a pink background purely with Liquitex paint markers. I have several of the colours now whose tips are in various states of degradation which I find really helps with getting a softer look to elements of the drawing. At this rate though, if I'm going to keep two of each colour just to have different softnesses of nib I am going to need more storage!
After I'd drawn the birds I then painted on the lovely muted purple background with Liquitex acrylic ink, which I had sketched previously in a practise run. The Liquitex ink is fast becoming a favourite medium, I love how it sits on the paper and kind of has a similar quality to the markers, but applying it with a brush instead of a pen nib gives a softer texture.
Then I drew on the dark fronds with more Liqitex paint marker, though to get the right colour I had to layer a burgundy under a purple, and then I drew the pale fronds with a Neocolour crayon. I like that the white is softer than if I had used a paint marker and that the bluntness of the crayon gives a roughness to the fronds. The baubles were drawn with paint marker and then the details added by painting them on with the same colour ink as the background.
What I am really enjoying in this piece is the pink background showing through around the birds. It helps add a depth and 'glow' that just wouldn't have been there otherwise. Something to explore more I think!
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