Some details from The Night Bird's Song painting. Details like eyelash shadows, heh.
Going to go into some length for those who are interested now about how the design of this went down and thinking behind it etc, with the CS sketchbook visuals [link]
it might be a little like a tutorial...
I would consider this my first real digi painting that is not a study, since Passion Pangs II had some textures taken directly from photos. I have a lot of other small paintings in my scrapbook but nothing at the sort of level of PPII and this. This is based on reference photos, and the iris photos were filtered into an underpainting to save time, but in practice it is entirely Brush based and there are no photos in it.
I am not very interested in ' pure ' media, I am not a purist, I think in future I will strive less for only using paint since I think I've proven to myself I can get by with just a brush if I must. If the next painting looks better because I used some vector designs or photo textures I'll go ahead and use them [making note of it of course, am not a purist but still think you need to be upfront about when your photo really is a manip or the like]. Especially if I made those elements, since it's one of the benefits of being a threat in several disciplines.
I went about building this the way I would do a digital composite, and painted all the elements separately then blended them. This produced some issues with getting it to look cohesive, as a result I had to move the vapor into the middle/foreground so that it's lighting could tie the elements together. It was not an ideal solution because adding some of the other elements I wanted to, like a border & crown, started to make the image far too 'busy'. In future I think I'll just paint everything at once, but i do have the advantage of having separate versions of the elements now.
At any given time when doing the final composite I had less than eight layers, most of the time working with only three [a blank background layer, a photo reference layer, and one layer where all the painting would be done] when it came to making the individual elements. This is mainly due to the hardware limitations I have on my older computer, as was painting it at only 4600x4600px, but I get by. Typically in photo editing or digital compositing I use few layers as well, not having a chance for too many 'take backs' makes me pay more attention to what I am doing.
It's important to me to, whenever I am able, use my own resources, ideally 100% of every manip/drawing/design. I was able to use reference photos I shot myself or in places [the vapor] no ref at all, with the important exception of the picture of Jacqueline. You don't have to spend much time talking to her to realize she is special, I think that was almost visible in the ref photo which made it so striking and is what made me interested in using it [besides that she is ridiculously attractive, obviously, which is a plus]. I was really excited she let me use it!
Learning to paint water drops and luminous vapor / northern lights was fun and I did not use any tutorials, so I got to explore the brush work there. The reason for adding the drops btw was to correlate with the stars, though I am not sure how well this works out? While the main light-source comes from the photo ref, all the green lighting was painted on without any ref which was fun as well, since getting away from reference is a bit risky for me being so new at this still. Ultimately I would like to work in a rougher less photography style, but for now it's good for me to lean to photo realism to build some creditability and confidence with the brush.
Originally I had a mythological concept in mind [zorya, aurora, midnight star, etc], which is more along the lines of work that interests me. I do not really want to do fantasy painting or work in that vein, just not my thing. But I found it hard to stick with the concept and focus on the technical aspects at the same time, so I decided to make this less deep and instead somewhat more design than art. Mucha was an influence [girl and flowers], and some of my sketches for this had a detailed border along the lines of his work, though the rendering is very different from his posters of course.
Ended up going with musical reference for the title, instead of myth. Which is something I often resort to rather than using one of my cryptic titles. A lyric reference can be somewhat more descriptive though still esoteric enough to please me... By the way Emilíana, if you are reading this and are at all interested in spending a night cuddling while singing to me, look me up!
I did not keep track of the hours in this, works goes slow because I am trying to learn from it as I go. Not in a rush, just want to understand what I am doing and try new things [a lot of which fail and make me need to start over]. Am not in a rush, but am excited to get one painting under my belt and go from here to do better work