At the same time I finished my last queen painting, I also finished this one.
This is based on a picture of Queen Victoria looking all regal like. In this one I added the background of a bunch of dinosaurs in the landscape, and I gave her a minion Plesiosaur. She has a pattern on her dress of Bothriolepis, which are almost my favorite Devonian fishes.
(My favorite extinct fish of course are the Late Devonian Lungfish. DUH!).
It helps to work on multiple paintings at the same time. You have to allow a fair bit of drying time, and also, being me and being all over the shop in whim, I sometimes decide I’m not in the mood to work on a certain painting type, and I go off and do other things. Having a choice of paintings at various stages tends to be quite useful, so that if I’m in the mood to be meticulous, I can spend 6 hours working on the scales of a dinosaur (at which point i had a bit of a tanty and refused to work on it for weeks):
This one started like the others with a concept, and then I roughed in various colours. The main thing is to get the drawing right and the angles and the visual look right before you start filling it in. The other main thing (for me) is to not plan out things too much as that bores me to tears, there has to be a creative process on the way where I make stuff up as I go.
This painting, I only had a small, badly pixellated picture of the face of Victoria- and I could NOT get the face right – so i blocked it in and left it while i worked on the rest of her. I also made her shoulder too high, I later corrected this by painting over it.
Also I didn’t want to introduce any blue to the painting but there was a landscape scene – I used paynes grey instead to get the colour into the water and sky.
I went and got a better resolution picture from the painting I used. I use the reference paintings as general reference only, otherwise, again, why would I want to replicate something done before? However when doing an epic picture like this, one needs a reference point.
Here is a good image of the painting I used as the reference:
I overworked her face a bit but I finally came up with something that looked enough like Victoria that she was recognizable. By this time the ‘tooth’ had gone in the canvas, I found doing the face was the most frustrating bit of this painting but I’m happy with the end result.
That lady had a freaky strange face if you look at pictures of her from the time. Not easy to paint.
Randomly I got her looking almost just like my friend Polly! Weird stuff. Polly does not however have a freaky strange face!!!
Painting fur is a bastard. I’m officially over it. You have to build up layers and layers and layers and then when you think you’re done – more layers.
Painting wood is worse – i don’t get it at all, which i guess is something I need to get better at. For some reason, velvet is ok to paint, as long as you do a lot of finger smudging, it looks right very easily.
I gave it a bit of time away and came back and looked at it and realized it needed something behind her head on the left. By this time i was kind of over working on this thing (this painting took FOREVER, started in November), and i had to come up with something that would look good but not take time.
I decided on a lace shawl draped over the chair back. I know Victoria was obsessed with her Honiton Lace wedding veil to Dear Albert, so please everyone accept my word – that’s Honiton Lace. Whatever the heck that is.
I thought I’d done bar the shadows here till I realized she was missing ermine spots on her fur. Never let it be said I would let a royal down and not sprinkle their dead animal clothing with ermine spots, so i had to add those in. (notice she’s hanging on the hot pink wall in my back room. I am not a pink kind of girl, but this colour makes that room totally ROCK!)
So then i added in shading (as the dino looked a bit flat) – which is basically thinned out paynes grey and white, and lots of using fingers, until I was happy with how it looked. My fingernails were all dirty and disgusting and full of painty goodness after this.
Here it is again – once again, i need to take a better photo of it. I need to work out how best to use that camera I got for xmas with the sole purpose of taking photos of my bigger paintings!
One of the guys I work with has first option on buying this. I hope he does and goes to a good home, if not, I hope i can find someone to want it. 🙂