The hard part was to create the right position for the welder. I wanted a petite girl to contrast the burly dude she was working on and I want her cleavage to face the viewer, I also wanted to figure out a way for a slit in her skirt to be enhanced and I really wanted the action of her working hard and looking tough and NOT posing. I also wanted a welding torch to be the focal point of light in the painting. Luckily, I know a great artsy welder that I consulted with a lot. What would look plausible? Can she have a torch going and strain at something at the same time? Scotty suggested heating with a torch to bend something. Perfect.
Every watercolor of mine begins by soaking the paper in the bath tub for at least ten minutes, letting excess water drip off, then laying it flat on a board, taping it down, and stapling it. This is the part that I start dragging my feet. I have a perfect blank canvas ready for a masterpiece, I have all the sketches worked, and a great image in my head ready to be brought out and now it has to translate to size and turn out fantastic. I am learning to accept that it takes me a couple days to overcome this fear of messing it up. The sketch in these illustrations is the most important part, it’s easy to get proportions and perspective messed up and the watercolor paper only lets you erase so many times before it starts breaking down. Once paper loses that top layer colors will stain the rubbed out spot easier and the color can create something like a scar once you are already painting.
So far I’ve been able to overcome this dread. I don’t have unfinished paintings that I planned out this far. It’s a good life lesson though, we can’t always be on fire. I resisted doing art so much at the beginning. I’d draw just a tiny bit every day. Deadlines are wonderful and the incentive of a show and excitement of seeing a finished product eventually got the best of my self-doubt and I got to drawing, the drawing went well. I started with the challenge of the welder’s position and it worked out on the first try. Her face turned out a bit more cutesy than I had planned but everything I wanted the shape and angle of her body to portray had worked. Everyone else is standing still so they were much easier and I reveled in all the tiny little details.
|Final drawing on watercolor paper. I don’t make the pencil this dark, I adjusted the contrast and definition it so you could see all the details.|
When I thought the drawing was complete I left it overnight for one final approval with fresh eyes then I masked it off and lightly poured that first layer of color. There’s no turning back now.
If you’re in the area you can come and see the debut of this painting at Zapow’s art show opening this Saturday 7:00-9:00. There will be free beer and free live music. I’ll be there with a bunch of friends and we’ll be dressed in our steampunk loooks. I hope you can make it. I’ll post the final painting steps and painting next week! I can’t wait to show you.
Don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest. You can see my steampunk page here and you can see several other paintings that I have used to inspire Pinterest pages.