meglyman_raccoonskull1

Blue Skull by Meg Lyman

4×4″ gouache on Aquabord

Etsy link

Using some lesser used gouache tube colors for funsies. This is a raccoon skull I found in the woods in Ohio.


meglyman_adora_web

Adora Octopus by Meg Lyman

Digital

for the Adora Art Project

When I have a commission for a digital end product, I ponder the pros and cons of illustrating digitally. I truly love painting and will avoid digital work like the plague, despite the fact that it’s cheaper and faster. In this case, the commission was for a website, so painted traditionally or digitally, the only thing the client needed was a .jpg. In other cases, like logo design, the product must be digital. Sometimes in these instances, even when I have the choice, I’ll pick traditional painting and scan it in. In this case, I didn’t have much time to finish it, and the subject wasn’t too complicated or serious (like I do anything serious), so I gave the digital painting a shot. It sure was quicker, and fun… but not nearly as fun as pushing paint around.

If illustration is your gig, digital painting give you a huge advantage. I just like getting paint under my fingernails too much to switch.


meglyman_crabbday

ACEO colored pencil and ink

For a friend.


meglyman_plaguedoctor

Plague Doctor by Meg Lyman

ACEO gouache and ink

SOLD

A commission from last year. Did you know Halloween is coming in 2 months? I am already getting excited.


IMAG2077

OK, so I could be biased about this beer, considering the golden octopus on the front, holding hops and barley and stuff. But still, I think Indra Kunindra tastes great. It has a nice, fragrant aroma, almost barleywine-ish. It’s not at all sweet, and has a slightly bitter aftertaste. You can taste the spices – it includes curry, cumin, cayenne, and coconut. Complex and delightful, buy a handful (or eight) when you see them!


meglyman_cookiemonster

Cookie Monster Octopus by Meg Lyman

8×10″ gouache on board

Etsy link

 


meglyman_anna1

meglyman_elsa1

Anna and Elsa by Meg Lyman

3.5 x 4.5 inches each

Gouache on matboard

One of the joys of being a gouache painter is the toned background. There are plenty of ways to get this effect in various media, but it’s fun and handy to paint right on whatever background you find. Some of the toned/colored supports I’ve used with gouache include matboard, Canson Mi-Teintes Board, Pastelbord, Colourfix board, Canson pastel paper, colored ACEOs, notecards, and various other colored papers. Some are more archival than others, some are rougher, some smoother; some are flimsy and some sturdy. Matboard is probably my favorite, for several reasons:

  1. It’s cheap – often art stores will have scrap bins and you can get pieces for $0.50
  2. You can get archival material if you want it (Canson Mi-Teintes Board is a good one, already cut to size)
  3. It has a nice texture – not too smooth or rough
  4. The surface can usually take a bit of abuse
  5. It’s sturdy – it won’t buckle and you can wave it around all crazy-like
  6. It comes in lots of pretty colors

Little left-over scraps are great for quick studies or plein air paintings. I also use them sometimes as backing when framing up ACEOs. In conclusion: matboard is great for gouache people!


meglyman_squidrage

Logo for SquidRage Studios

Digital – done with Inkscape

I just returned from a trip around the state, having fun and painting. I’ll put up a compilation post soon. In the meantime, have a logo!


meglyman_fairy

Fairy by Meg Lyman

ACEO gouache and ink on board

NFS

The glowy pink fairy octopus lives in the coral woods, and will grant you wishes if you bring it live kelp crabs. But they have to be just the right size, and not too cantankerous. The fairy has a reputation to uphold, after all, and can’t go around with chunks missing because of some uppity crustacean.


meglyman_bovid1_unvarnished

Bovid I by Meg Lyman

9×12″ oil on board

Etsy link

When I ordered this super awesome cow skull someone on Etsy found in the desert, I was excited. I was not, however, prepared for the sheer size of the thing. I pulled it out of the box, said “WOW,” and cradled it in my arms for an hour. I love it way more than I should. I wanted to paint it as soon as I laid eyes on it.

cowphoto

Note: larger than it looks

I set up to paint it on a cloudy day, with no lights on, just the nice north light overcast coming through the window. This limited my time – good practice for plein air. Plus I procrastinated and started after noon, but that’s neither here nor there.

cowskullsetup

Daylight… almost… gone…

I paid special attention to values on this, which is something I’ve always eyeballed, to the detriment of every painting I’ve ever made. I dusted off the value finder card and actually matched my paint to the values coming off the skull. I was surprised by the things I learned doing this, as is often the case when I actually pay attention.

The first thing I noticed is that the lightest value coming off the skull wasn’t the lightest value on the card, and ditto with the darkest. I would have painted it with the full value range if I hadn’t known that.

I have four tubes of Vasari paint – I love them very much – and I wanted to use them all on this, so they drove my color choices. I set up an orange cloth to get some nice, warm reflected light in the shadows. Then I laid out some color strings, matching them to the skull with the value finder.

cowpalette

Color strings being born

My colors were Vasari Raw Sienna, Naples Yellow Extra, Silver Point, and Cerulean Blue, plus some Blue Ridge Turkey Umber for the darks and some titanium white. The first three values of light blue I mixed were 9, 8, and 7, out of 10 on my value card. I tried to follow the very subtle shifts in value on the light side of the skull, which were totally obliterated by the camera shot above. And the one below.

cowwip

bad photo, sorry

So I know the photo is washed out here, but you can still see some of the value shifts if you squint. And you can see the second thing I learned today – the light blue values that looked pretty dark on my palette look absolutely white on my dark blue toned board. I’m certain the toned board would have caused me to push the value range too far on the light side of the skull if I hadn’t measured.

This stuff fascinates me! I bet that when I’m painting on a white surface, I do the same thing with darks – lose the subtlety of the value range because of the contrast with the ground. No wonder classical painters and the old masters toned their boards and did ebauche and all that fancy stuff. I had read about all that stuff but learning it the hard way really makes it stick. It also makes me excited to try it again next time.

p.s. this is one of those studies I was talking about – practice still life, plus skulls, will feature in a future larger scale painting. I promise.

 

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