Thursday, March 27, 2014

ugly duckling

My ballet company is performing a ballet "The Ugly Duckling" this spring.  (I'm the ugly duckling:))  In honor of the ballet, I painted an ugly duckling (actually a cygnet) and a cute duckling.  These adorable 4x4" canvases were an impulse buy at AC Moore... hey, they were on sale.
First the sketches, done in prismacolors:

(You can see the finished duck here)
And the original swan...

It took me a bit to actually start painting the baby swan, because I couldn't decide what color to make the shadows. I didn't really want to use just plain gray, but I was also kind of nervous about picking a color. I didn't really mean to make its feathers as blue as they turned out. It just kind of happened.
ugly duckling lovely cygnet
The hardest part for me was the foot on the left. I couldn't figure out what colors I needed and where to put them to make it look like a foot and not just a blue-gray extension of the body.
Overall I am pretty happy with how this one turned out :)
Artist behaviors:
1.  Artists Communicate Through Their Work - since this piece was inspired by my role as the ugly duckling, I wanted to communicate the mood of the character and the themes of the ballet. In one scene in particular, the ugly duckling is left behind by her "sisters," the ducklings. They proudly dance away and the ugly duckling realizes that she has been excluded when she wanted so badly to be one is them. I thought this picture captured the quiet disappointment of being left out... something I am not unfamiliar with.
2.  Artists Develop Art Making Skills - I *think* I am getting better at mixing realistic colors.  Painting my animals in crazy colors is not just a stylistic thing... it is easier for me to pick out one color that I see and intensify it than to mix colors accurately.  On this one I got a little closer to the gray of the cygnet's feathers than I have previously.  I'm actually not sure if that is a good thing or not...
3.  Artists Solve Problems - I had a really hard time starting this piece.  For some reason, I could not get it to look right.  I took a break from it for about a week, took a huge step back, and tried to look at it with new eyes.  It turns out I had the shading all wrong - I had highlights in the wrong places and it made the whole thing look a really weird shape.  Even though the swan didn't end up the exact same shape as my reference, I like the way it turned out.

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