I’ve had a 2′ by 3′ canvas lying around for years. It’s the biggest canvas I’ve had so far, and I’ve had a project in mind for it, but not the time to take it on. So the canvas sits. Sulking in the closet, or between furniture. Or stares mournfully at me from its post against a vacant wall. Carried from one apartment to the other as I moved 7 thousand times (okay, 7 times). Watching as I did other things with my time, like homework. Or housework. Or, the great forbidden, sleep.
But it’s time has come.
Because it’s just getting creepy, watching me sleep.
Actually, I just have the urge to paint my character. The project in mind started a few years ago, when I injured my right arm and was out of decent art commission for at least two months (I’m right-handed). Well, being artless drove me insane after a couple weeks, so I started to draw with my left hand. I’d had to use my left for everything else (including essay finals in college), so why not art too? I’ve actually used my left hand quite often for things, including playing the trumpet and drawing before (not at the same time, mind you, though I once saw an Australian guy at Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival play the trumpet and the trombone at the same time–one in each hand. It was awesome. I think it was James Morrison, but I could be wrong; it was a long time ago.) So with my left hand, I sketched out the chimera creature from the book I’m writing in rough shapes, and strangely enough it’s turned out to be one of my better sketches of him. Ever since I drew that picture, in fact, I have wanted to do more with it. It’s peaceful but filled with tension. Another main character, a woman, is walking alongside him.
So I decided I am going to paint it. As it is here, the sketch really needs help. The creature’s gait is wrong, there are way too many lines, and I had troubles figuring out where his third griffin head should be positioned (among other things). I scanned it onto my laptop, and messed with it with adobe photoshop elements, erasing and redrawing lines with a wacom tablet. I cleaned up the lines, and fixed some anatomy. His gait needed to be changed, and he needed a second wing. The left-hand-drawn person was a complete fail, mostly because she was merely an afterthought and I was mostly just trying to gauge the size of the beast. So I need to draw her in, as well–and not only that, but I need to decide where she would be, and what she’d be doing. Walking? Standing? Looking up, or down, or around? What is she carrying? Wearing?
I’m still working on that part.
Meanwhile, I worked on what to do about the background. Alas. Backgrounds. They are my bane. Do you want to know what I love so much about painting rocks? (At least, one of the reasons.) No background. Booyah. The background is wherever you place the rock. It’s like cheating. Okay, it is cheating. But I love painting rocks for so many other reasons that it hardly hits the radar. I guess my distaste with backgrounds is largely that I’m mostly interested in the foreground, and far less interested in the background. Or it could be that I spent 3 months in high school painstakingly painting the background of a watercolor painting when what I was really interested in was the wolf, which took me about 3 days.
Yeah. It was annoying.
I have a few ideas, concerning the background. I could set it in the land the book is set in, with the smoky, stormy sky and rolling hills and mountains in the background. I do know that I want to play with lighting, with the sun playing off foreground and a darkened eastern sky background. Or maybe northern sky, with the sunlight coming from the side sunset. Something concerning clouds and sun, anyhow. The reddish gold hues would play well with the beast’s similar coloring, as well. But the details of the background still evade me, so it’s something I’ll be working on.
In the meantime, here are some more of my left-handed doodles for your amusement.