See you in Cannon Beach (Oregon) on May 7!
If I had not run out of chapters in my book Gardens of Awe and Folly I would have taken the extra pages to give you all a tour of some of my favorite every day Secret Gardens, like the one my neighbor Joanne has in her back yard:
This (above) is the entrance to the Secret Garden belonging to one of the most excellent Chilled Wine Cocktail On The Patio Hostesses I know. Step into that wooden archway entrance gate (below) , and you are treated to a more complete view of the pathway that leads to Joanne’s hide-away around the corner (that you can’t see in this pic because it’s secret):
Well, it’s a GOOD THING I am an illustrator and in possession of an Artistic License so that when I take my pencil and draw this illustration, I can give you both of these views at once:
Next, I apply masking fluid with a tooth pick (because I need a really fine line):
To start, we have to lay in some sunlight, which I will let dry before I go to the ext step:
Since I’ll be working from the back to the front of this illustration, the next thing I do is lay in background foliage:
All I do is dab dab dab the lightest shades of green, quickly, while everything is still wet:
And now the plot thickens.
I’m putting in a light green wash on the left side here because as you saw in the reference photo, this is where all the shade is:
Dab dab dab in some nice rich greens, and then I’m done mapping out the brights and darks of this illustration:
BTW, I really like what happened up there, when I dab dab dabbed wet-in-wet and got some nice blotches that could very well stand as is and look totally convincing as foliage. But I don’t spend much time pondering this because I can’t wait to get a move-on because . . .
. . .I LOVE THIS PART! This is the part where I add more detail to the background:
Oh, I love dab dab dabbing with my size-00 brush!
And now I start adding detail to the front-ground, over-painting the wash with dark leaf-shaped flicks of my 01 brush:
I paint bigger leaves with a fatter brush, whose size I don’t know:
And then I work the middle-ground:
Something tells me that I could stop here . . .
. . . I could stop here, call it DONE, and let those nice watercolor blotches do their job, but noooooooooo, an evil little voice urges me to go on, put in some really really dark, dark background:
More is More is what that evil little voice is telling me:
Time to get out the 00 brush again and make some tree branches out of all that brightness in the background:
Let’s take a look before we remove the masking fluid:
I hate to say it, but I’m starting to doubt that really dark background. And I’m getting a bad feeling about that bench and lantern. Where O Where is that voice that should be telling me Quit While You’re Ahead?
But there is only silence as I plod on anyway and sure enough, I paint over those wonderful blotches that I liked so much:
And oh well, I guess it’s DONE:
WHAT WENT WRONG: Yeah, the lantern looks wonky, and the bench doesn’t make sense — I made a bad choice when I included them in the pic. Also, I don’t “get” the wooden gateway either; it’s almost invisible, lost in the more and more of the foliage. Well, it’s a good thing that I work small, so the fix-up shouldn’t be all that hard.
CAN THIS PICTURE BE SAVED?
This is it BEFORE:
And this is it AFTER:
Hmmmmm, I dare say that, in the end, I saved this pic, and if you had not seen the BEFORE maybe you wouldn’t even notice the heavy-handed layer of paint on the left side. But alas, we are wise to the muddle and in our heart of hearts we all know that it was a better picture when it was “half” DONE.
My Dear Readers, this is what a bad day at the office looks like to me: I spend approx. 5 hours working on this picture, for a chapter that never makes it into the GoAaF, which even if such a chapter existed I would not (probably not, depends on how tired I am by deadline time) would not use this illustration for anyway.
Well, I don’t know what would you do after such a bad day at the office, but here’s what I do to end the day on a sweet note:
A little champagne, a blue jay feather, and the company of a cat — that’s all it takes to make it a perfect day in VivianWorld.
Have a great weekend, my Wonder Ones.