This picture had an incredibly challenging gestation. I pushed myself hard and learned a lot about a lot of things – colour, composition, and time management, amongst others – but, in the end, I definitely bit off more than I could chew. While I’m not unhappy with the result, I’ve definitely reached a point where my technical skill is outstripped by my vision.
I started over twice, the first time working up a low-res copy of a sketch I doodled a year previously on a piece of software I don’t have access to any more. Then, once I’d got to the colour comp stage, I put it aside to work on a time-limited project (Hound of the Baskervilles).
When I came back to it, it was several months later and I’d picked up a new Special Interest: runes. I redrew the thumbnails, trying to do something clever with runes and sigils and compositional armatures that ultimately didn’t work.
My original plan had been to paint this piece in encaustic (wax paint) on cradled board, but time and space constraints pushed me back to a digital workflow and that brought a raft of special problems. Namely: colour.
Since starting my mental health recovery, I’m fascinated with hyper-saturated colour. What little work I did during my illness was desaturated, bordering on monochrome, and working out colour palettes and exercising restraint weren’t really necessary. Happily, that’s not the case any more. On the other hand, learning such things takes more time than I’ve had and my lack of experience is obvious (to me).
In the end, I’m okay with letting this one go. I learned a lot, I got enough Symbolism in to assuage my inner Fine Artist, and I have a better idea of which areas I need to improve.
And sometimes, that’s exactly what you want from a piece.