St. Patrick’s day collaborative scrapkit

23 02 2012

Because we considered our Valentine’s day Scrapkit a great success and we had a lot of fun doing it, the artists over PSPTubesStop decided that we wanted to go ahead and work on another kit for St. Patrick’s day: Over the Rainbow. The theme is quite evident and we just went ahead and worked hard on getting out a lovely one! It is so cheerful! The preview alone will make you smile! As you might already know I have a big love for Celtic knots and I took upon the task of working mostly on several frames, Lisa made a bunch of backgrounds, Mitzi worked on a lot of elements, Joana gave us two lovely leprechauns. and we all also helped with quality proof and edition.

Over the Rainbow Scrapkit.

Contributing artists are Joanna Bromley, Mitzi Sato Wiuff, Lisa Cree and me. The scrapkit includes 68 Elements, 14 Frames, and 16 Papers, not all elements are shown in the preview, and the price is silly cheap.

We also wanted to give a try to our “when artists make tubes” project and I put this one together using the scrapkit and an image of mine.

St. Patrick's scrapkit put together by me. I never claimed to be good at this! 🙂

Enjoy your scrapbooking and tubing! And remember to enjoy St. Patrick’s responsibly!

The dance of creation: A series in five Goddesses.

20 02 2012

Some time back I had the immense pleasure of working for these clients in Hawai’i, designing an image to brand their Lemurian Healing institute (you can see the image on the top right). It was with great happiness that I received an email from them earlier last year asking if I would be willing to work some more with them in designing images of four goddesses: Air, Earth, Fire and Water. Having recently been on a honeymoon in Kawai’i I was eager to draw something using the inspiration I had gotten from there and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to do so.

After talking some about the imagery they were after we got clear that it did not have to be Art Nouveau inspired (unlike the image of the Lemurian Healing Goddess) and it had to be a vertical composition that would read well online and also in print. Even when we gave names to the goddesses: Gaia, Pele, Aphrodite, etc. They should not represent any culture in particular, so the outfits could be made up and they did not all have to match, which gave me a lot of freedom to experiment with clothes that would represent the element I was portraying. Also, because they did not need to represent any culture I took the liberty of basing the landscape heavily in Hawai’i, given that I had a lot of reference photos I took myself (you can find many in my stock account) and get Hawai’i out of my system (which, of course I didn’t and I want to do more!), and I used pose references from stock artists in DeviantArt. I am a big admirer of Jonathon Earl Bowser, and I found out that my clients were too! So I drew a lot of inspiration from him, looking into his images to get an idea of lighting and mood I saw that my head was already attuned with his concept of Elemental Ballet when I thought of representing the Goddesses as in a Dance of Creation. When I sketched the possible images for each woman I took care of including one or two images full of dynamism, as if engaged in a dance.

After sending them my first batches of sketches: Surprise! They liked them so much that they asked me to work on a Cosmic Goddess too, based on one of the sketches I had sent. How flattering!

A Dance of Creation. Series of five goddesses. Image (c) Constanza Ehrenhaus, David Bower and Mamiko Meridana 2011.

I would like you to join me in a series of future posts in which I am going to be talking about how each image was created. It was a wonderful journey of learning and growth for me, in a year which was rather low in production because of problems during pregnancy, C-section recovery, sleepless nights, almost failed breastfeeding, I was adapting to being a new mom. However, the few pieces I did produce make me proud and I would love to share that process with you.

On relativity of color temperature: Secrets.

13 02 2012

I was invited to the Enchanted Visions Project a couple of months ago, but so far I had been unable to take part in these friendly monthly challenges. However, finding that the planets were aligned and I actually had some time at night, I took the opportunity to tackle February’s challenge: “Secret Kisses”.

Since I had been studying tutorials on skin tones I was eager to work on that and decided to have lots of skin! My idea was to have the kisses being secret because they are not accepted by the rest of the world, so I sketched two women being from different worlds: Earth and Water. I took the opportunity to work on a very warm skin tone and a very cold one to represent the element of these women. Also, I wanted to add a dash of each woman in the other one to bring the palette of each into the other and make the piece more harmonious.

Secrets. Finished version. Note the temperature of the two women and its variation within the skin tones.

That is why I added a violet flower on the hair of the nymph and a pink flower on the hair of the mermaid. But then Lisa Cree suggested to push that idea further and have them “exchange gifts”, I then gave the nymph a crown of pearls, and color picked the tones from the lighter blues of the mermaid. I did the same for the leaves ornament, picking colors from the nymph.

To have the mermaid not look clammy in blues and green I added a dash of pink to where you would expect blush in a normal skinned woman: chin, cheeks, nose, elbow, a little bit on the shoulders too, this added some warmth to it (and received many compliments!). To convey the idea that these women are interacting, in the same place, and not just pasted on top of each other I got their colors to interact by using reflected light. The theory is that when light bounces off of an object, it is reflected on other surfaces. In this way, the light reflecting from the mermaid’s skin should cast a blue reflection on the nymph, and vice versa. If you take a look at the nymph, there is no doubt that the reflected color from the mermaid is definitely cold.

Temperature of colors is relative, as it can be seen in the left panel. In both cases the warmer tones belong to the nymph and the cold ones to the mermaid.

Both these examples, the warm blush and the cold reflected light are warm and cold respectively only when seen surrounded by the skin tones that each woman has. If you color pick them and put them against a neutral background, you can see that he blush is actually green and the cold blue is actually a rose. Furthermore, by comparing them to the skin tones of the other woman you can see that actually the blush is quite cold and the reflected light rather warm, but when put into the right context they convey the right temperature idea.

When painting, keep in mind that not always rose is pink, it sill depend tremendously on the context.