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Last time, we took a look at the brainstorming, sketching, and planning process. We looked at how I loosely sketched in where each hare was going to go and then tightened up the drawings to include details. I had then practiced drawing the gnomes riding and added them to the image as well.
After all of that, I used masking fluid to cover the areas I didn't want to be painted yet. Masking fluid is some weird and cool stuff. You can apply it with an old or disposable brush, using a regular brush and washing VERY quickly after with soap, or by using a masking fluid brush. I use some little old dinky disposable brushes and occasionally my color shaper.
Using the masking fluid, I could paint in the background colors without worrying about needing to paint around the hares and gnomes. It is a big help! I was able to focus on getting those clouds and colors right and trying to show the light just how I wanted it.
I also worked in the "base colors" for the grass as well. some of the grass would be in front of the legs of the hares so it was better to finish the grass after the masking fluid was removed and the hares had been painted.
Once the paint had dried for a bit, it was time to peel away the masking fluid. This part is a little bit gross and a lot of fun. I've posted what it all looks like before here.
It is quite a satisfying feeling to see the "untouched" area against the painted area. Of course, sometimes that crisp line between the painted and non painted areas is not as smooth as you may want or is a bit off so you may have to go back and touch it up like I did.
It should be noted that peeling up the masking fluid may pick up some of your pencil lines with it in the same way a kneaded eraser would if you were rubbing it on graphite to make it lighter.
I then worked in a tad more distinction in the blades of grass and painted in the base colors of the hares' bodies and their patches of dark and light fur. I was important to do this in order to get the form and anatomy to a "Three dimensional" or "believable" place.
I carefully painted the eyes next. The eyes and noses were probably the first times I started to use watercolor pencils along with smaller brushes to get the painting more precise in the small areas. I may have used them a bit on the ears as well for boldness, but I can't recall.
Stage by stage, I added more detail and variety to the fur with watercolor pencils and smaller watercolor brushes. Some of the watercolor pencil marks were barely made wet at all. I think I may have left some as dry pencil marks when doing the dark spots and whiskers.
I also painted in the gnome hats by laying in some base color and watercolor pencil shading and then punching up the values and shape over top. A very light base color for the gnomes' faces was also added.
I used a similar process to paint the gnome clothing and their beards and hair. You've got to be careful when painting a gnome's beard or hat. That's important stuff!
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In the painting's final steps, I darkened parts of the gnomes while tweaking their colors and adding some more details. I also overworked the the grass and spent way to long on it. The more I did, the worse and further from what I wanted it got. I was finally able to get it back to an "acceptable" place. haha! And not a moment to soon. If I had kept it up, I may have worn out the paper completely! It is always good to know when to stop and leave your work alone mistakes and all!
You can see more details and colors have been added to the grass in the field to give it some more depth and variety, while it still has an overall brownish purple color to it. This helps it still stay one "mass" when viewed with the figures. I tried to do this because I wanted to make sure that the hares and gnomes were still the focus, despite the hares' similarity in color with the blades of grass.
I also dabbed the ears of some of the hares with a wet paper towel to carefully lighten them up a bit. They were so dark they didn't look natural in relation to the rest of the painting.
I also added some rosiness to the faces of the gnomes and darkened some parts of the beards.
Though I have plenty more photos, I don't have many that show the details, final colors, and tones much better than the last few above and the ones below. I did a lot more little touch ups before it was all over.
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I wanted to have some space between the painting and the glass when it was in the frame, but the old frame I was using was very shallow. One way to address such a problem is to cut slits of wood sized for the back of your frame and attach them to it with wood glue and/or brads. Above is a picture I took with my cell phone as I modified the frame.
(The Racing of the Hares- Part One)
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