Mar 8, 2018

Using Edges to Make Soft & Fluffy Drawings/Paintings - Painting & Drawing Tips


CATCHING SOME SUN, WIP - when finished matted 11 x 14, $225
It was a special treat when Max and I rounded the corner on the trail and I saw this little Varied Thrush.  We were walking in our favourite wooded park a few weeks ago.  There had been a light snow fall the night before which was already melting in the warm sunlight streaking through the trees.  I saw a few birds off in the bushes, much larger than our usually fair.  As I watched them the sunlight suddenly caught one and I saw that flash of orange.  I know right away it was an illusive Varied Thrush.  Well, illusive for me.  They are not usually found in the suburbs preferring the more forested areas but in winter they may visit us looking for food.  This was such a treat I just had to paint him. 

I find birds and short haired animals a bit of a challenge when it comes to creating that soft fluffy look. I think that it is because Edges play a more important role than values to create that softness.  With furry animals you have those wispy pieces of hair flying and they help in a big way to tell the story of the texture.  With a good splash of value changes you are there. But unfortunately small birds don't really have those wispy pieces. (see my last post on building a fluffy look with values here)

What do I mean by Edges?

I know there are many different ways of talking about Edges but for me Edges are "the transition areas between shapes".  This can be the outside edge of an object but also the many different shapes within the object.  In the case of my Varied Thrush, where the wing and body meet are shape transition points but also the colour changes on his chest are different shapes with transition points.  Each of these transition spots forms an Edge.  What happens at these spots seems to go a long way in telling the story of the texture of the object.  

Creating 'Fluffiness' through Contrast of Edges:

Contrast is a very powerful way to send messages to your viewer.  The contrast of the sharp edge of the wing feathers with the puffy lines in the chest area tell the viewer their texture is different, one is sleek and one is softer.  The same is true with the moss and branch.  The smooth edge of the branch contrasts with the short rounded edges in the moss, both the outside edge but also the color transition edges.  This re-enforces the idea that one is soft and fluffy and the other is dense and harder. 

SKETCHBOOK WORK - Blacktail Deer 

This young Blacktail Deer was one of the friendly fellows that greeted us on Cortes Island last fall.  He was most obliging in letting me get a few good shots of him.  With his short summer coat and in places very angular lines, it was a challenge to give him a soft, fluffy look. 

The contrast of the smooth, straight Edges around the face and the curved edges of the body help to tell my story.  But what happens inside his body at the edge of each shape gives a clearer picture.  (For me, I see shapes as the area formed by each different value) Looking at his neck, I see 2 shapes.  The darker area at the back and the lighter area in the front.  The value change between them is soft and gradual, telling my eye that this is a soft, rounded shape. This contrasts with the sharper, straight external edges of the neck.  The contrast (contradiction) between the two areas tells the story. This same story is happening all over the deer's body.  

The transition area between these value shapes is key.  Whether it is gradual or sharp the transition area tells a very important story about the texture of the surface.  I feel "where things meet" is a crucial part of any drawing or painting.  The most important stories happen there: texture, location in the picture plane and location in relation to other parts of the object/picture. Check out your paintings and drawing.  Do you feel the same way? Do you see other important story telling points?  

To learn more about creating that soft and fluffy look with your birds and animals check out my post How to Draw/Paint Fur that is Soft and Fluffy.  

Next post takes a break from Soft and Fluffy to look at the Crisp Line of Ink. In the meantime check out the opportunities below.

My Etsy Store: WendyMouldsArt  is always open and new things added all the time.  

Opportunities Happening now: 

Have an Artfilled Day:  Wednesday, April 25
Gardenworks at Mandeville, 4746 Marine Dr. Burnaby

1.  Beginner Watercolour Class 10-12pm
Learn the secrets of Watercolour, the Big Wash, Wet into Wet, then drop in those Sprinkles of Detail to bring it all alive.  Just in time for your summer fun. 

2.  Creative Card Making Class 1:30-3:30pm
Start your Spring season off with a fun afternoon of making Creative Cards for those special people in your life; Mother's Day, Father's Day, Birthday, Friendship, Thank You's are more meaningful with personalized cards created by you.  Learn tricks and techniques to put your ideas into action.   

Workshops $35 each, all supplies included. Register Now with Wendy 
They have a wonderful little cafe there which I highly recommend for lunch. 

Drop-In & Draw Sessions: 
Tuesdays: Mar 20,   Mondays: April 2, 16 & 30- 10-12pm or 1-3pm
Expression Art Gallery, 227 & Lougheed Hwy, Maple Ridge,
Choose a morning or afternoon session. Bring your sketchbook or project and come and work.  I will be happy to give you pointers.  $15 Pre-Registration Required.  Contact Wendy Here. 

Good Follow-Up Session to the Marketing Workshop: 
April 9 - Building Your Online Presence with Wendy Mould, AFCA 6-8pm. Federation Gallery, Vancouver, BC. $20 nonmembers $15 members.

How to Find Your Starting Point in a Drawing - here
4 Ways to Grow the Sketchbook Habit - here
Get Those Values Working for you - here

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Have a great Artful Day,

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