watercolor portrait – redrawing the background

today i got some good advice, which was to stop working on the girls until i’ve got the tones in on the background. then i can see how bad it is in its final setting.  because you never know.


so i got out my straight edge (ruler) and my pencil and eraser (except i can’t find any of my many erasers and don’t like jim’s solution (carve off the end like a carpenter’s pencil, or scratch it off on sandpaper.)  i want my gizmo, dammit.)

i forced the perspective, meaning i altered the hell out of the perspective in the photograph in order to make the vanishing point thru the doorway in the upper right.  and a second vanishing point about a yard to the left.  i had a yardstick as my straight edge, and i tried to wedge the tip of it on top of the side table and work out the horizontals of the steps by aligning the yardstick with the lines in the photo.  and it wavered about a great deal, but i settled on a distance in my mind, and drew all my lines sort of to that point.  i’m not very good at this at all.

and here i am trying to rip off escher.  but i’m not tearing it up and starting over.

i did learn one thing about 2 point perspective, tho.  the vertical risers are more or less the same distance on each step, but of course, the horizontal treads are hugely larger as you get closer to the viewpoint.

looking at it on the screen instead of the painting in real life, i can see that the top riser (that the red girl has her knee on) has to be longer, meaning the back of the tread has to sit lower, so that line above her foot has to come down lower on the paper.  and tilt downward to the right a bit more, too.  or else the front edge of the tread (to the right of the orange girl’s right hip) has to go up a bit.  i’m not good at perspective.  i’m going to have to hold it up to a mirror once i’ve made my adjustments, because i just know it is jarringly wrong, it’s just that i can’t see it after having worked on it all day.

and in fact it wasn’t all day.  i had about a 2 hour session this morning, before the lunchtime dog walk, and then visitors, who took the grand tour, which is always a blast, and they were cute and they were interested.  and i feel bad because i kicked them out so i could feed jim and walk the dogs again before it pissed down more rain.

and after that i came back and drew in all the escher stuff until it was dark.  i redrew the rolly figures to be taller, and to follow the proper perspective line, and i like them better (tho i still suck at drawing ellipses and it’s going to arduous to get them right.  another reason for me to find that blasted pencil sharpener or go outside and scrape it on a brick.)

i redrew the creepy crawly by the orange girl, larger than i had it in the beginning, so it’s only the back end and the first two feet instead of his head on down.  i drew in the head of a crawly just going up the stairs upside down from the purple girl (middle left).  and i’ve so far managed to keep the crawly head i drew on the far wall in the beginning, tho maybe i should erase it and put in more of the body so you can tell where it’s going – i love the feet.  i’ll probably have to redraw them all.

the lines on the left hand wall need to be flatter going back under the stairs on the far wall.

i wonder will i paint in the shadows on the escher part, or do i switch to pen and ink now?

i guess i’ll paint in the carpet.  i guess i’ll paint in the wooden steps.

i guess i’ll paint in the girls’ shadows.

then we’ll see.


2 thoughts on “watercolor portrait – redrawing the background

  1. Isn’t it interesting to see how things change on the screen. I’ve taken to photographing each stage with my iPad, it’s so quick to see what works and what’s a disaster – even if the pictures aren’t the best quality. Those girls are so cute. :)

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