Sweet and Spooky

Another 5 more days till Halloween! Not all cultures celebrate it, but I mainly take an interest in Halloween from an art perspective, because it gives me the opportunity to go beyond my comfort zone. Dark shades of navy, greys, brown and black for instance start emerging as opposed to my customary bright vivid colors. With pink being my favorite, it’s also a challenge for me to come up with something in orange, a color I tend to stay away from. Another is that I tend to steer clear from scary and spooky as I prefer to stay cute and kawaii. That said, the two need not be mutually exclusive and can somehow be combined to maintain a sweet innocent look as we shall see in this painting. It is Little One and her boyfriend dressed for Halloween and floating in the atmosphere of darkness!

The Beginning

Once again, the painting starts with a page from my sketchbook (Strathmore’s Visual Journal for Mixed Media) smudged with leftover paint from another artwork. This leftover paint is actually some flesh-color with which I purposely drew two ovals in hope of creating some faces. Recently, I bought a small box of fluorescent-colored oil pastels by Faber-Castell and Omy, and here was the chance to play around with it! First layer was just doodling around the faces. Then I painted color blocks with acrylic ink combining various dark blues such as Prussian Blue, Marine Blue and Indigo. See how the fluorescent pastels pop out! Once the inks were dried, I glued on some bits of purple wrapping tissue all over the page.

Painting Us

I continued adding a bit more collages, this time some torn bits of paper napkins, followed by more doodles with the fluorescent oil pastels. Then I created a bit of negative space with some Payne’s Grey ink in random shapes, more resembling flowers rather than the intended clouds! Not to worry, still looks great. Once all was dry, I was ready to draw this cute little couple! My first attempt was with orange Gelatos by Faber-Castells which are water-soluble wax sticks as I was hoping for a translucent layer. Unfortunately, it didn’t go as planned as colors didn’t come out as strong enough and hence I incorporated some India Ink by brushing on some Dr. Ph Martin’s Bombay Ink in Orange and Tangerine. Just love how despite coming out strongly, the orange is still transparent enough for the pretty background to show through. I also used some India Ink in Brown for the hair, later combining it with Antelope Brown acrylic ink. Now we’re talking!

Make it Pop Out More

For the eyes, I then took the the Brown and the Marine Blue to draw in the eyes for her and him, respectively, using just the dropper. Molotow acrylic marker in fluorescent green was then used for the collar and antennae, and with the dropper of some Copper India Ink, I began doodling some squiggles in the background, especially in the area with empty spaces. I love how that pops out from the Payne’s Grey background. This time, no glitter glue or sequins as would normally add. This is because I wanted to enhance the “ghostliness” of Little One and her boyfriend with the transparency of the orange costumes against the elaborate background. I also wanted to demonstrate the fluorescent colours brightly lurking in the dark background. And hence, I’m done!

Another fun and amazing mixed media session that started from leftover painting! Always enjoyable to develop the unexpected and see what I come up with. I have to admit though that working with dark colors was quite daunting, especially when painting over with Payne’s Grey. That said, I have painted and drawn on black paper before, and I know that all I needed to do was to add some brighter color on top. Orange being the color I hardly go for, I have discovered its beauty even more and may like to incorporate it more in my artwork especially as autumn is here. Meanwhile, I am very pleased with the outcome of this spooky yet sweet painting and ought to do more like this in future. Let’s see where it all takes us!

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