I decided to mix things up. My paintings have been feeling very similar for a while now, so I thought, if I tried something totally different I might stretch my wings a bit.
I love fishing. And I especially love fishing at night. So, I decided to paint an illustration of myself fishing.
This was totally different from anything I have done yet, so there was a good bit of trial and error involved, but I like the fourth one quite a bit.
On the first attempt, I used a lot of masking fluid to block things off. Overall, I think this one is actually ok, but it’s not careful enough. I’m using a lot of crisp lines, and I missed in a few spots, and over shot the masking fluid. I also don’t particularly like the trees because I copied the style of someone I found on YouTube, and it just doesn’t feel like it’s my own.
I didn’t like the second attempt much at all, and I didn’t even bother finishing it. The trees are much too busy, and so is the moon. It’s hard to see much of a focal point. The whole thing is just a bit too distracting. So I ditched it, and decided to really measure things out, and plan the composition on the next one.
The third attempt is the worst of them all. I really went nuts with the masking fluid to get crisp lines around the water. I put it down as if I were building a dam around the image. And, when I finally took it off, I got really crisp lines, but I also got a fat yellow stain from where the masking fluid was. I tried to paint over that stain, and it just made the water way way way too dark. I gave up on this one as well after the water went downhill, but I decided to at least paint it through to completion. I do like the exploded crater on the moon.
I did like that fish though. I decided that would have to stay.
On the fourth attempt, I tried to really simplify things. Of course, simple made for a better painting.
I only used masking fluid for the fishing line, the glasses, and the craters on the moon. The rest was just free hand. I think I got much better results this way. It took a while because I had to be very careful with my lines, but it turned out better than when I relied on the masking fluid so heavily.
I think I liked it better because I was able to improvise as I went. When I relied heavily on masking fluid, I put the watercolor in a cage, and it was unhappy. When I loosened that up, and just “went for it” I got much better results.
First, I painted the whole thing one color, the blue you see in the moon. Then, I marked off the fishing line, the fishing pole, and two lines that would become the glasses.
Once that dried, I painted the crater on the moon, and then jumped around painting things that weren’t next to each other so I could let one thing dry before painting its neighbor. First, the hat, and the shirt. Then, paint the whole fish a light green. Then I painted all of the trees at once, letting the colors mix on the paper. Then the boat. Then the face. Then the fish’s tail… you get the idea.
There are a few little details in here that I’m especially proud of. They are tiny, so they are very hard to see in these photos. Here are some close ups, just so I can brag on myself a bit.
I like the way the face and ear came out. I was a especially nervous when I painted the eyebrow, because the lines were so fine, but I tried to be very careful and steady, and I think it came out great. Heck, I even painted the eyelets on the fishing pole.
If you look very closely, you can see where I painted negatively around the screw in the eye glasses. That’s the smallest detail I think I have ever painted, it is literally smaller than the head of a pin. Here it is next to a quarter, to give you a sense of scale:
I was also happy with how the fish came out. Again, I painted some very tiny little details there, which I think give it quite a bit of life. You don’t notice them when you look at the painting as a whole, but I think those little things help trick the brain into wanting to look deeper. I dunno.
Anyway, there it is. My first watercolor self portrait. 😉
And, the best part? I actually like it.