For my Goddesses of Creation project I started working on the five images at the same time, to try to keep consistency as much as possible, but as usual, I ended up focusing more on one image, less on the other, finding a direction for some images sooner than others, so I did not end up working simultaneously on them. The Earth Goddess was the second to be finished.
To make her more akin to the Earth, I wanted her to be solidly grounded so I did not give it a sense of dynamism or levity, also I wanted her to be pregnant, to give an idea of fullness and fertility, of lush life. This idea was received very gladly by David and Mamiko, and I must confess I also felt very connected to it since I myself was going through pregnancy. For this project I had multiple references I had shot myself on my pass by Kawai’i, the garden island, and I took advantage to study the palette of many of my photos. Because of the iron in the earth and because of the flowers natural to the island, there is a lot of red, my clients also wanted quartz crystals which were to be amber, we went with a predominantly green, amber and red composition.
One of the themes that kept coming once and again during our correspondence was to have a sort of supernatural light ambiance, I thought of using a halo behind her head, that can read as her being the source but also the sun rising in the distance. Having never portrayed backlight (at least successfully) I knew I needed a lot of referencing for this to work. So off I went to the web to hunt down for backlit heads, hair, fabric, skin…
Earth Goddess references, did I mention I do a lot of research for my paintings?
So once the references were gathered I started painting the landscape, suggesting the light from the center and behind the figure. The mountains slope, the plants, rocks and crystals all point toward the goddess, making this a very simple yet effective composition. I also tried to keep cohesion through the use of the little red flowers on the ground, dress and hair.
As I start refining the image and adding details, I also soften the lines, I do this by locking the pixels on the line layer and passing a round brush set to transparency (20-25%) and painting over the lines with the color adjacent in the figure. This will make the image more dynamic.
I do leave notes to myself when I am too tired to go on but I am afraid to forget what I need to do next 🙂
Then it is just a matter of detailing some more, adding the last touches and sending the file to the clients for revision.