This page shows one of the techniques I use for the full color artwork. After trying out all kinds of techniques, I've come to find this works very well for me. Of course all depends on subject and client. On a few other pages I have shown the different stages of a painting as well.
As a companion piece to the sun and moon painting, the star has been in my head for quite a while now. Here is the initial rough sketch for this new painting.
The sketch is then enlarged and used to come to a detailed drawing even showing some shading. I use a thin almost velum,-like paper at this stage. This drawing then is also used to transfer to an illustration board. A reddish carbon is used to do this. This carbon also is light enough to erase if needed. The trick is to give enough pressure to see the drawing, yet not too hard to show through the paint (in case I decide during the painting to use a different line).
Here the transfer has been enhanced by colored pencil. It gives me a nice base to work on. As I use a combination of glazing and thick paint it is important for me to have the drawing worked out with shading as well. Now the painting can begin.
Painting is on the way. The glazing I mentioned before, is done as with watercolor, but I use gouache (Winsor & Newton) instead. I've always liked the texture of it. To me it feels somewhat between watercolor and acrylics. Both of which I don't like too much. Oils are nice too, but I never got into regularly using it as I hate the cleaning of the brushes. With gouache, all you have to do is have a cup of water nearby and refresh regularly.
The background is added using layers of brushed blue gouache, over which I used a sponge to add a subtle texture. Then the blending begins using various shades of blue ink (magic color) with the airbrush, my 20-year old Badger that I still use for most of the airbrush work and never fails me.
At this stage I cover the star with Friskfilm (a transparent plastic film) a great tool for airbrushing, but I use it for painting as well. This gives me the freedom to work fast with broad brushes to paint the background a nice shade of blue without worrying too much about spattering on the star or having to stop a brush action because I'm getting too close to the star. I'll use the film later on again in airbrushing and creating the details in the sky. As you cut the shape obviously you also have the surrounding part which I'll use later on to do finishing airbrushing on the star.
Here you can see better that the film is still covering the star, so the blue that's on the star is really on the film.
I added some details in the sky. Also used some white to make it less flat. with the film taken off, it looks like this now.
At this point more contrast is added to the star using white paint as well as some chinese red and burnt sienna. Some white is airbrushed.
Now the final stage, a glaze of yellow and some yellow ochre is added to the star. Chinese orange and burnt sienna is used to add detail to give it a more aged look and again white to highlight. After putting a matte varnish over the painting, it is ready to be framed. In this case the client wants the same frame as the other 2 paintings, hope it is still available as the sun and moon were framed a couple of years back.
More or less, most of my paintings these days are done in a similar way. It has become "my style" over the years. Its a way I'm comfortable with and matches my approach. Some paintings go through a lot more sketching if more objects are in the painting or if lighting is crucial. Sometimes the layout of a painting is not as easy as this design and it takes several more attempts to get to something I like. It all depends on the subject and my clients' wishes.
All images © 1985-2008: All rights reserved by Mario Baert.
Any reproduction or distribution of the artwork presented here without the prior consent of the artist is strictly prohibited.