Yesterday I talked a little bit (okay, a lot) about stenciling damask for the bottom border of this canvas and left you wondering what I was painting in the middle.
Did you guess the ohsostylish Christian Louboutin red-soled pumps? Probably not. Or if you did, I can paint a sign for your front door that reads “Psychic”. Of course, I don’t do neon. Sorry.
Anyhoo, this painting is for my niece-to-be who is marrying my nephew this May and her bridal shower is this Sunday. So this is a tiny (8”x10”) painting of 3 of her favorite things – zebra & damask in black & white and Louboutins.
Ahh, to be able to wear high heels again for longer than four steps without gut-wrenching pain. Truth be told, I never wore this high of a heel, even when I was teaching dance and spent the majority of time on my toes anyway. Which, by the way, is pretty much the reason my feet are messed up to the point that high heels are now on the #thingsIlovedwhenIwasyounger list.
And that’s just fine with me. I wouldn’t have given up one second of dance. Not even a millisecond. Not even a nanosecond. Not even . . . you get my point.
So you wanna see how to paint black pumps? No, huh. How about this – do you wanna see how to shade and highlight black so it looks all 3D-ish?
Alrighty then. First I need to sketch the shoes so they ‘fit’ inside the frame. So, out comes the tracing paper. Any ol’ paper would work. I just like tracing paper so I can line it up.
And, this first try? Didn’t work. Too big.
Attempt #2? Better. Now you might be wondering why doesn’t she just take the photograph of the actual shoes and print it off and transfer the exact shape and proportions of the shoe. Go ahead. You can say it.
Good question. The answer is simple. I’d rather play around with a pencil and paper then with a computer and printer. Plus, I can always use some skill-sharpening when it comes to sketching. (Actually, it’s just my favorite artsy thing to do. Yes, even more than painting.)
While we’re on the subject of you talking to me – you do talk to me, don’t you? – okay, maybe notsomuch. But I’ve got a confession – I do talk to you. Yessiree, I do! Especially while I’m painting. I don’t talk out loud because . . . well, that’d just be weird.
Anyhoo, some days, like today, I just keep the laptop on a little table next to my work table and jot down little notes so I’ll remember later what I told you. Just in case you’re not the one in the group who knew I was gonna paint Louboutin shoes and have a flashing pink “Psychic” sign.
But I digress. Back to the painting. Once I get the sketch transferred, I basecoated the shoes. Since they’re black I basecoat with black + light grey because I need black for shading. If I just paint it all black, I can’t go any darker, ya know?
Think of it this way – if you were gonna paint a snow scene you’d have to add some other color for contrast, right? Otherwise it’d just be, well, all white. So, the same with black.
With the same light grey I mixed into black I added the first layer of highlighting.
Lemme ask you something. Have you ever looked at oil paintings, or watercolors for that matter, close up? Like from 2 feet away. If you have, you know that the artist uses a bunch of color blobs and somehow when you stand back there’s this invisible magic art wand that make the painting look like something other than a bunch of color blobs.
Well, I don’t happen to have that invisible magic art wand. My paintings look the same at 18 inches away as they do at 3 or 4 feet. My paintings on canvas, that is. My wall murals? Ok, I have a teeny, tiny magic art wand and there are some color blobs involved.
Why am I telling you this? Because if you follow any of my painting tutorials and use regular ol’ craft paint you won’t have color blobs either. Sorry. I can’t pass the wand to you. But I can tell you how to shade and highlight so you won’t need one, ok?
However, I do recommend that you stand back a few feet to look at your painting.
Hey - there ya go! A little magic artsy pixie dust that sprinkles on your painting when you stand back a few feet. I’m not kidding. By standing back you’ll see any problems with proportion or scale or any other weirdness. You’ll also find that when you stand back the painting looks a whole lot better it does when you’re sitting/standing there painting.
(good grief I’m wordy tonite. Even moreso than usual. Sorry ‘bout that.)
After the first highlighting I shade the first level, black on the shoes and a charcoal wash for underneath the shoes. Now they don’t look like they’re floating in mid air.
Now it gets fun – highlighting with white. But since I use craft paints, one coat of white isn’t enough to get a completely opaque white. This is just the first coat.
More black, which makes the white look whiter.
But not white enough.
There it is. Painting is simply using darks and lights to create dimension. Well, ok, there’s a bit more to it than that but playing around with highlighting and shading will really help your paintings. Promise.
Now, even though I’ll give this painting to my niece, I still want to reproduce it for prints and stuff. But I have . . . . um, stuff to make it sparkle. Which won’t reproduce well at all but it will make my niece smile. Which is my way of saying I needed to paint a red pinstripe on the border.
Grab the painter’s tape and slap the red on each side, go have dinner, then tape the top and bottom and . . .
Done. Or almost done. Done for pictures that I can’t take until tomorrow in daylight. And I have no idea how to shoot it since some nut decided to paint the background in Pearl White so it’s all shiny in good light.
Sometimes I’m my own worst enemy.
Which brings me back to you. Yes, you. I don’t tell you often enough how much you, my dear reader, totally rock. I absolutely ♥ you. I gotta say, the comments you left on Climbing Out of The Comparison Hole warmed the cockles of my l’il heart.
But I have to confess, I really stink at responding to comments in a timely fashion. I read every.single.one. and then I start talkin’ to you, but in my head. I’m trying, really trying, to get better about responding quicker – and visiting your blogs too. I promise I will too . . . eventually.
So thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you for dropping by, for reading, and for leaving a comment once in a while. It means the world to me.
Oh, I will share the ‘tricked out’ painting when I’m done too, but I’ll just tag it on another post. I mean, who thought I could use so many words to describe shading and highlighting? Ha – you did, if you’ve been here before .