Google+ LISTENING TO THE SQUEAK INSIDE art by Kirstin McCulloch of LilliBean Designs: ☆ Winter Princess: From Conception to Completion [Greatest Hits]

Friday, January 23, 2015

☆ Winter Princess: From Conception to Completion [Greatest Hits]

I hope you are enjoying my Greatest Hits series! This is because I am taking January off + I am currently reading a book, sleeping on the couch, swimming at the pool, or painting in the studio....

These are the posts that have inspired, helped, motivated + encouraged my readers. How do I know this?

Because you told me. In emails, comments or links.

☆ ☆ 

This painting is one I have been thinking about for a while now, (you may have seen the beginning + in progress shots over on Instagram or Facebook over the weekend), and my inspiration this time came from author Kristen Ashley.

It is no secret that I am a huge romance novel junkie. HUGE. (I totally blame my 94 year old nan for this addiction - it was mills + boon over the summer holidays at her house when I was 14!! I was an impressionable teen!! - I have no responsibility for this....)

And it shouldn't be a huge surprise that the genre I am particularly fond of is the paranormal/ fantasy one.

Hello. Mermaids? Princesses? Stag Girls? Yup reading is a huge source of inspiration for me...

Anyway, I was reading Kristen Ashley's Fantasyland series + there was a passage that described the heroine from the first book and as soon as I read it I knew I had to paint it.

So this is the beginning of the 'Winter Princess' painting (not to be confused with, by the way, the Frozen princess Elsa, who Bean excitedly asked me if I was painting for her....)

This was the third/ fourth sketch I did.
 It took a while + some awkward selfies (did you see them on Facebook?) to get the pose right... 
Here I have transferred it onto my gesso panel, using carbon paper from the newsagents. I haven't been able to find graphite transfer paper here, but to be honest that carbon paper works well enough.
I don't often start with the back ground, but I wanted to start with the elements in the background first
Which as always lasted a whole five minutes before I was compelled to start her face..
And Yah - my favourite part her eyes..
And this is when my brain shut down. Being it was close to 1am,  I couldn't make any more decisions, so I have decided to leave it for the night. 

☆ ☆ 
This week,  I started off spending some time finishing off the back ground, adding some more detail. But looking at it now I will probably need to go back to it in the final stages. I think this is why I don't normally background first. I often change my mind + then I am left with no paint the right colour + white patches to fill...

I thought I would start painting her dress an shimmery blue, using an iridescent medium, but I wasn't happy with the colour, with the way I couldn't add shading. The light blue would lift off when I added darker colours + tried to blend them. It became a streaky ugly grey mess.


I abandoned the dress for the moment + I then decided to address something that was frustrating me.

I wasn't happy with the placement of her hands, it seemed too false. Forced. So I took more ridiculous selfies (Yah for cameras on computers!) + changed the hand placement.

I am beyond frustrated with this Winter Princess at this stage, so I mixed a new dress colour (making sure I have heaps of it and won't run out - haven't we have all been there, done that before!)

And again, I am frustrated with the shading - truly frustrated. Because I am working on board instead of paper, I have to adapt a bit - and look at her boobs! Holy cow what is going on there??

So, I left her for a few days. And did some research. I needed a reference for the highlights, rather than winging it like I normally do.

Obviously this Winter Princess is a demanding sort, and wants everything done properly. (And yes I realise right about now, I am slightly mad. Or weird. Or both.)

Working on her again,  I finally like where the shading was going, I felt like I had finally conquered the dress, but the hands were again not making sense to me.

Not only did her hands seem huge, but I was irritated with the pose.


So after I gessoed over the hands (again!), I dug out my props (much better that the water bottle I was using before!) + took some more selfies.

And this is where I finished off last night.

☆ ☆ 

Instead of packing for our weekend away, I holed up in the studio + painted. And even though she has frustrated me all week, I am happy with how I have left her.

Well worth the slight panic + craziness, of packing girls weekend away with my babies.

I don't know why I thought I was over the hurdles with my winter princess painting.

I suspect that by now you are bored of reading about this painting - I know I am becoming impatiant with her.

As we were away last weekend + have spent the majority of this week catching up, I haven't had a huge amount of time to spend on her, but yesterday I had a cancellation + could spend some quality time on her, so I decided to takle her hair.

But true to form, she wasn't going to make that easy.

I finished the changes to her hands - I like these much more that before.

When I started with the bottome layer of white, I hadn't cleaned my brush properly so streaks of aqua came through, and that inspired me to add aqua to her hair in later layers.

Using a combination of white, black, aqua, raw sienna + titan buff, I finished one side of the hair.

The 'ugly' phase of her hair.

After about four hours, this is her hair almost finished.

Since I had the aqua out I finished the details on her earrings.

I liked the eyes originally, but I kept playing with them + stuffed them. But the best thing about acrylics is you can just paint over them again...

Today, I managed to start on the crown.

And this is where I left it for now. I am hoping that tomorrow night, I will have a large chunk of time to finish her off, but more than likely I will be changing her again - there is something bugging me about the sticks in her arms....

I was thinking of changing them to lily's or something...

I think I am in danger of never finishing this painting!!

☆ ☆ 

Well.... This Winter Princess has certainly made me work for the final painting. I realised today that in between Life Book projects + other bits + pieces, that this painting has taken almost the entire month.

But now she is done + I am a little sad, that I will no longer have her on my table. 

So I started late last week on her icicle crown 

Which is studded with odd shaped aquamarine gems...

Woo hoo! Crown finished. (And surprisingly her crown didn't give me too much grief!)

This is where I left the branches in her arms, but I hated these. (Oh + arn't we surprised by that??)

So I ignored them, yeah, yeah I was procrastinating, and finished the trim on her dress.

I realised I only had the sticks + her hands to finish of so I pulled on my big girl pants + tackled them next.

{Branches close up}

And here is a close up of her finished hands.

I mentioned in part one that she was inspired by a passage in a Kristen Ashley novel called 'Wildest Dreams' + I thought I would include  a little of the passage that set this whole painting in motion.

"My white-blonde hair was a mass of long, thick twists that were pulled off my forehead somehow but hung down my back, chest and shoulders. I had shimmering pink on my cheeks, a gloss of pink on my lips, an iridescent blue on my eyelids, a dark blue rimming my eyes and a sparkle of pearlescent white around my temples [...]
I was wearing a crown[...] And it looked like icicles shooting up and slightly out, crusted with glinting diamonds and sprinkled with glimmering aquamarines."
Kristen Ashley 'Wildest Dreams'

So the final, final reveal - The Winter Princess

The Winter Princess acrylic on panel
The Winter Princess
acrylic on wood panel
30 x 40 cm
$200 - contact me for details
So there she is, my most frustrating painting for 2014. But also the one that I am most proud of!!

What do you do when a painting frustrates you so much that you just want to give up? I would love to here what you do!
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  1. Amazing! Love all the details! Happy PPF.

  2. Wow she's stunning and it was so interesting to see the journey you went on and all the backward and forward steps dusted with frustration that you took along the way - it's very reassuring to know I'm not the only one to get something how I want it and then overwork it until I have to start over like you said happened with her eyes. Acrylics are wonderful for that! The end result was totally worth it as it's a fabulous painting.

  3. Wonderful! I love seeing all of your steps! Such beautiful work :)

  4. Wow, just beautiful! You always did beautiful girls but the added detail and depth and the story in this one are just amazing!

  5. Whoa, that is fantastic, all the frustration you went through. I appreciate that and your solutions. My fave paranormal author is Susanna Kearsley's books. Blessings, Janet PPF

  6. Pool Party in GurgaonJanuary 29, 2015 at 11:26 PM

    I certainly agree to some points that you have discussed on this post. I appreciate that you have shared some reliable tips on this review.


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