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.

Abortion in Argentina, the mermaid violated.

5 11 2011

Before going further… This post is related to abortion but it is not actually about abortion, it is about copyright infringement. So, please, let’s keep things art-centered. Thanks!

Argentinean politicians are trying to make abortion legal. So far it is only legal under certain circumstances, but there is a push for making it legal and free for all. Because the law is being treated right now I went to check the news and browsed until I got to their blog… and I found this:

Banner for legalization of abortion in Argentina. Seriously...?

Now, is there any need for me to mention that this is the Starbucks Mermaid? This looks like someone liked Starbucks’ logo, I and slapped arms and very clumsily hips, then copied and pasted and voila! Insta-banner! f you are not familiar with the Starbucks logo, here it is for you:

The new (and more modest) Starbucks mermaid.

I was rather dismayed… or maybe I should not have been. After all, the whole abortion issue is a mess because Argentina has signed the Pacto de San Jose de Costa Rica, in which the adhering countries are committed to defend life from conception. And I am not giving my opinion on abortion yay or nayΒ  (this is not the right place) but there is a right way of doing things and that is to *first* rectify this situation and opt out of the pact, then you can have a law for abortion. As it stands, if this law is passed it will be non constitutional because international agreements are above national laws.
Why do I mention this? Because if they so nonchalantly violate an international agreement… why not another one? Argentina *is* part of the Berne Convention, which protects artistic works.

If I was Starbucks, or any business, I would be dismayed to find the logo of my company used for such a controversial cause, especially in a country that is mostly Catholic.


A message to the abortion project campaign was not immediately returned, but I really am eager to know what they have to say.

Sketch weekend

9 08 2011

Secret friend (c) Constanza Ehrenhaus

Life is not going back to normal, but we are finding ways of working around that. Ignacio still does not sleep through the nights and he has not establish a rhythm yet, so some days he naps, and other days he just does not sleep at all! But, nevertheless, I am finding little moments here and there to sketch a bit and get back into drawing mode.

My Friend Lisa Cree is throwing a weekly event, each weekend she gives three prompts: setting, era and subject, and artists have to do a sketch. It is really nice and it has a voting system by which not necessarily the most skilled artist will win the challenge. This is a perfect, non stress event to go back to drawing. Right now I don’t have the time and energy to finish up a refined piece, but sketches are nice πŸ™‚ I encourage you guys to go over and take part, it’s fun!

This is my sketch for my first time entering. I hope I can keep participating!


Sketchfest-April 2011

23 04 2011

Sketches for Sketchfest April 2011 (c) Constanza Ehrenhaus

Good morning! yesterday and today is Sketchfest, and since I am really busy with some paid commissions I do not have a lot of time to do this. But I still wanted to join the fun! So I decided to put 3 hours into it and have some good, relaxing sketching time. And I don’t regret it! I have dome 4 sketches, two of them I am so loving!! The pirate chick has an attitude that I love! And the faery couple is my favourite of this month. I really like the mood to it and the colors (In the original) came out very nicely.

My scanner frustrates me to no end, and one of the sketchfesters told me that it might be blind to blue… which is the most reasonable explanation since the blues never ever show up at all! 😑  But it is not the time to get a new scanner, we have more pressing issues coming up! (Can you say “baby”?).

In an y case, all the sketches are available for purchasing, all the proceedings will be donated to EMG. Again, you will not find these prices for originals of mine ever except in Sketchfest, so if you like, pass by and get them before they sell!

If you would like to purchase old unsold sketches from prior sketchfests, let me know.

Sketchfest #12

27 03 2011

I was really looking forward sketchfest, given that last time I was too busy to work on it. But life has its way of imposing itself and I ended up in the hospital for two days because of bleeding. The upside is that the baby is doing fine and I am home again. The not so cool stuff is that I am in bedrest now 😦

I was hoping to do a lot of sketches for this sketchfest, but coming back from the hospital I needed to catch up with a lot. As in sending emails to work and explain the situation, try to figure out how to go on from here and so on. I still managed to work on three sketches though! πŸ™‚

Sketches for sketchfest #12 (c) Constanza Ehrenhaus

The prompts were:

Mermaid kisses

Blushing rose


These are colored pencil original small works of art, they are available as donations for the site so the prices go from 5 to 7 dollars. You will *never* find original art by me at this price. The originals look much much better, because the scanner eliminates a lot of the blues and the subtleties of color. So if you want your own small original, pass by the site and get your sketch so we can keep sketchfesting!

A nice little reward! :)

8 10 2010

Earlier this year I decided that it was time to take the scary step of start to participate in real contests, not the fun friendly ones thrown by friends, but real ones posed by unknown people. This way I can challenge myself and start measuring me against others, something I don’t do enough!

Last weekend I went to a work retreat, that is they put us in a secluded place in the middle of the woods, next to a lake. Sounds nice, right? And it is, but you also keep a very intense work regime, getting up at 7 (as late) to breakfast and then go to the talks that are scheduled and the rest of the activities for the weekend (work-related, of course). So I was rather dead when I came back and it is taking me a while to get into the art world again.


The rescue (c) Constanza Ehrenhaus 2010.

I was pleasantly surprised though when I noticed that a piece of mine had won a contest! The contest was held by White Wing Stock et al. and the theme was “sexy mermaids and puffy pirates”. I did have a great time working on the piece and though I think I could have pushed it further, paid commissions got in the way and took priority, so I had to set a limit on how much I wanted to fiddle with it.


The stock I used can be seen here and here. I learned much through this piece and I am very satisfied with it, since it has a nice setting and characters interacting! As you can notice, I did not use the stock as is, but more as a guideline for pose and anatomy, which is what I usually do.

It is really rewarding to find that I am growing as an artist and that comes accompanied by this little surprises πŸ™‚