Prom Queen: #3

A bit of History before I talk about this painting…

In My Favorite Murder, Episode #162 (Prom Queen), Karen and Georgia jokingly told people to paint this picture McKenzie Brelyn posted on Instagram. I’ve been practicing watercolor for a while now, and Rachel and I will be seeing them live in Pittsburgh on Friday, so I decided I’d give it a go.

Here’s a link to the episode.

On to my notes/explanation/lessons learned…

This was my third attempt, the first two were awful, but since I’m trying to catalog my learning process, I’ll post both below.

I thing I liked most about the photo were the curved lines, the perspective, and the textures.

At first I started with a layer of grey made from Quinacridone Gold and Quin Purple. Then, I depend the foreground with more quin gold and some Hansa Yellow. I let that dry for a few minutes until the sheen was gone, and lifted highlights from the fields. I wanted to ensure a lot of textural contrast in the foreground so I lifted large lines, to create direction and soften the early values.

Then, I painted the lines on the far hill in Quin Purple and Moonglow. Once that dried I applied a glaze of Hansa Yellow across the page, leaving the shadows alone. (oh, Grandpa “Paul” Onions was masked over.) 

Then, I got some really goopy Hansa Yellow (the consistency of honey) and attempted to give the impression of plants in the foreground. I wanted these to be large compared to the lines on the far hill in order to add to the sense of perspective, and wanted them to be very loosely applied to further a sense of depth without drawing the focus away from Grandpa Onions.

For the sky I mixed a simple cool grey with Phthalo Blue and Burnt Sienna, and painted it quickly. I wanted the sky to be flat, but also wanted some subtle crisp lines in the sky for added interest and texture contrast. I think this worked well, I’ll be exploring more with this.

Of course, there are a bunch of things I don’t like. First, the perspective is off. The near hill should flatten out more and the far hill should flatten more quickly. As it is, it looks like Grandpa Onions was rolling down the hill.

The far lines should be thinner, less saturated, closer together, and more numerous. The lines in the front should be spaced a bit differently (that second line should come down a hair).

I like the color saturation and the value structure that it provides, but it’s not what I had in mind. I wanted to paint this in more of a neutral tan, but I love that Quin Gold so much I kind of got carried away.