About a mont ago I was doing some demo-paintings at the THU Troia was a Unicorn- art event in Portugal.
I had spent the most of the 2 first days painting a sad fox with wings but had finished it earlier than I anticipated, so I needed to start a new one. And just to spice it up I announced that I would make a painting in one hour, so that if people wanted to see some fantasy from start to finish, they could.
I made a small pencil sketch and then went straight to board. Here are the thoughts I had for doing a speed paint:
- Simple and big shapes
- Easy to read silhouette
- Simplistic palette ( mixing colors take time. Using only a couple is faster
- Minimal background elements
- Clear contrast in colors and temperature
- A hint of a story
Lets start with the last point. Having a hint or a narrative element is key to creating fantasy illustrations for me. I drew the ragged wizard and thought about a staff for him. And of cause couldn’t resist the idea of a glowing tip. If the tip was glowing what would that mean? Ahh: its because he is trying to attract something with the light. Perhaps fireflies? Well; in that case its a night scene. Then I could make the staff tip be a start shape, like he had capture some star-light and was using it as a lure. The star-light is best harnessed in a shape of a star of cause, that’s why the tip is star-shaped, and the pattern on his hat could be stars as well. Now he is a Star-Wizard.
As you can hear from my rant of thoughts, all the choices I made for the painting was dictated by narrative ideas. All I needed for the demo, was a figure and a small background in order to be able to show some acrylic technics. But the theme or narrative was what drove me though all the decisions.
The first painting I did during the THU-week was a sad looking fox with wings. With that image I had no story or idea other than a figure in a setting. I was trying to just show as much of the painting process of using color temperature bounce light and contrast as possible, that I forgot to add any narrative idea. Only the sadness.
I remember the feeling from when I was younger and did a lot of pinup drawings. just cool looking figures with no story. The first time I created a little story and painted it, something changed in me and I knew that I was on a path I could never get tired off walking. But alas; it seems like you can easily forget you are walking on tat path.
My point is: even in a One Hour Painting, there can be a story. there can be a hint of an action that has taken place before the image and a suggestion of what happens next. The promise of something happening is so much more engaging than a cool pose.
And it surprised me that it was such a great part of the wizard painting and the whole process: I thought coming up with stories and painting them was hard and took effort that would complicate and make everything so much harder. And I had even said out loud the evening before, that I was just going to paint something simple. Meaning something without content. But after I had finished my second painting, the wizard: I was left with a feeling of joy and happiness that didn’t come from having painted a painting in one sitting. It came from having created a story in one sitting.
Jesper . . . a few years ago I got into the “one hour” painting thing. Actually, they were sketchy at best, but they were were interesting, challenging and educational. Actually, you can get more done faster than you think, simpler than you think, and often, end up with a more interesting piece of work.