Monday, September 29, 2014

Chronicling the Making of Dawn Secrets (a digital painting by Nicole Piar)

When I found this quote, "The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you. Don't go back to sleep" I felt an immediate pull and saw this gentle moment bathed in dawn light where the wind was turning into a soft magical kitty and whispering in to a girl's ear. Yes, this was it! I have always loved the moments of quiet that we claim for meditation and inner reflection because that is where we meet a deeper part of ourselves and hear our inner voice. Yes, don't go back to sleep into the endless distractions and general busy-ness. Stay awake, alert, and listening.

I was also excited to try a new technique that I learned from Cory Godbey that combines pencil drawings with digital painting in photoshop.

Here is my visual diary of making this piece:

Pencil drawing scanned into photoshop. I also drew the letters with pencil but they are not shown here.
I painted a watercolor background and then scanned that in as well.
I painted in a solid neutral color behind the girl in photoshop

I started painting the different elements with a flat color. 

Blocking in flat colors across the whole piece.
Adding highlights and shadows. This is the more painterly stage. Experimenting with color.
Adding more highlights and shadows. Making some final color choices.
Playing with the saturation and the light. Adding the hand-drawn type. Tightening the color overall. 
What I Learned and Another Layer of Meaning

So, this was a completely new technique for me. Something I never tried before. About halfway through, I was very unhappy with this piece. It lacked a luster and a magic. It felt flat and dull to me and I have to admit my inner critic was getting annoyingly loud. I considered quitting and starting it again as a watercolor in hopes that as a real painting it would have more life. 

However, I decided to push through and keep struggling and experimenting. Eventually, the piece started to flow, a little spark entered, and it came to life. I could feel the energy of that first vision starting to emmanate through the piece. Yes! 

All of sudden, the quote had new meaning for me. While making this piece, I was wading through the darkness of night. I couldn't see where I was going and I was about to lose faith but I didn't "go back to sleep."  When the light finally broke and the dawn came, I had learned so much - so much more than I would have learned if I had just stuck to my tried-and-true methods. 

To reach the "secrets," you have to trust in the existence of the dawn even when there is not a hint of light in the sky. Yes, I think this definitely extends far beyond art-making but the process of creating can be a little microcosm - life condensed. 

What bits of wisdom you have learned through your creative process? I would love to hear them in the comments. Please share.  

"Dawn Secrets" is part of Lovely Ink. If you would like a free desktop wallpaper and 8x10"printable of this art, please SIGN-UP HERE.

You can also get laptop skins, stretched canvases, framed art prints, and phone cases featuring this art HERE.


Beth Barany said...

I love seeing how this image was created. So fun! Just looked at the images and didn't read the text, except for your story. So touching! Thanks for sharing! :)

OracleGaia said...

I just adore that picture. I'm not much good with digital stuff myself unfortunately.

nayanailiffe said...

it is really very beautiful. I don't know anything about digital art so looking at the steps was interesting and the result is amazing!

Anonymous said...

This is beautiful and the meaning behind it all as well. I love painting digitally and find that the more I do it, the more natural the process seems. I often bring in my pencil sketches and use them as under paintings, but I use Corel Painter for more traditional painting mediums. Thanks for sharing!

Rebecca Stoner said...

Beautiful painting and words! I love how you've showed the creative process, it's really inspiring. I'm really glad you kept going as the artwork has great depth and really does shine.
Thank you for this months Lovely Ink :-)


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