Saturday, December 3, 2011

Progress: Wrens on a Wire

Here's some progress shots from a current commission from someone who likes the little wrens I do. These wrens are watercoloured, not digital, which is a bit trickier, and the painting is pretty huge (26" across) but I think it's coming along pretty well:

This is the original concept sketch:

Which was then, after approval, developed into this refined layout. 
I drew all the wrens separately, and compiled the image in Photoshop. (Yes, an extra wren was added, as originally the image was not supposed to be so large =P)

And a fresh colour study:

After that had been approved, and I'd waited a couple of days for the weather to cool down sufficiently to make watercolour washing not a completely idiotic idea, I could start. I'd purchased a large sheet of watercolour paper, and trimmed it to size, and I printed out the layout on several sheets of paper and stuck them together so I could trace it:

And I then did the watercolour wash. Which for some reason, like every wash I ever attempt, did not work. I always end up with blotchy areas that just don't cover properly, no matter what paint, brushes or paper I use. Arrg!

I soaked the whole thing in the bath and then did a new wash over the top, which fixed it up a bit (I did stretch it out on my desk and tape it down, but the darn thing escaped bondage while I was out of the room, so it's a bit wrinkled, too >.<)

And then, since my mother had brought a spatter tool home from school so I could practice before helping with her art, I did some extra salvage work by spattering gouache over the whole thing:

After which the background was much better. Phew!

And now I'm just down to painting wrens and butterflies. Even with a painting this size, most of the work is done with a #1 brush, along with a #00 and even occasional touches with a #000 (for the butterflies), so it's not the fastest of work. Extra work is done with coloured pencils and a touch of gouache.
The wren pictured above is 9cm from beak to wingtip. 

Tomorrow I start on the cuddling wrens. =) 


  1. Hi Alene,
    I so like a bit of a splatter myself :D
    Looking forward to seeing it finished!

  2. Thanks so much, Petra! I'm looking forward to seeing it finished too! =P There's a long line of lonely white wrens staring at me!



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