Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Ships Passing in the Night

Size: 11x23 inches
Medium: Watercolors
Detail closeups, Original painting ($1500.00) and Prints ($16.95 & $26.50) -available here-

Lately, I've been fascinated by painting skies defined by inversion of negative space....

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This was was sitting in the sketchbook as a thumbnail for a long time. Forgot about it, and then came across it the other day when I was flipping through wondering what to paint next.
 Fleshed out the dragon sketch.
 Digital composite of the thumbnail and the more detailed elements of the ship and the dragon. At this point I had the idea to turn the ship into a dragon-ship so that the juxtaposition to the dragon is all the more striking.
 Refined finalized sketch on the painting surface.
 Photoshopped color rough to use as a guideline when I started painting.
 In-progress scan. At this point, I compared it to the color rough and found that the water was much lighter than I wanted it to be. Sometimes it's hard to tell, comparing something on a lighted monitor, to the actual page. The light from the screen throws off your judgment of color and contrast, so it helps to see them both on the screen side by side instead, for a true comparison.
So, after that I went back and sprayed workable fixative on the bottom half of the painting and glazed some more greens and yellows and purples over the water to darken that whole area.


  1. Thanks for the linework history, Steph. I hadn't realized the rocks just off the bow were part of the dragon until I saw the sketch.

  2. stunning- what kind of fixative did you use on the bottom half? Also- is there a tip or trick to get the hazy, smoky swirls????

  3. I just use Krylon workable fixative. As for the swirls, it's patience, and many many thin layers of glazing.