"All that I loved is gone"(left)
Master Award, Character in Action, EXPOSÉ 1
I had watched a program about the pollution of the seas about five minutes before I began on this one. She is a mother of the oceans - a spirit like creature slowly drained as her seas are destroyed. That was the thought and while I painted I wrote a bit of text to go along with the picture that explains more about it than I could otherwise:
"The moon has fallen into a sea of dirt, and all that I loved is gone."
"There is still the sea. The clouds. The earth."
"The ground slides, filthy and bedraggled, into the melting earth, and all that I loved is gone."
"There is still the sea. The clouds."
"The sea is but a stench - it devours but it does not live. All that I loved... is gone."
"But the clouds. We still have the clouds."
"The clouds are veils of sulphur and acid rain."
"We love the rain."
"All that I loved is gone."
I had to look at a lot of reference shots of the sea for this one. It had been a long while since I last painted water and I needed to figure it out all over again. I tried to make her incorporated into the sea and yet apart from it, and I used colours in tones that felt dirty and 'old'. I didn't want the look of a clear, beautiful, fresh ocean. Something that few people notice is the fact that the fish are dying. Imagine the image as a clock, with her being 11:59 and 12:01 all at once, and the fish being moments in between.
For the clouds, I used a combination of a round, sharp edged brush, a brush with blotchy edges and the smudge tool on a custom brush. The frothy water was created in almost the same manner, minus the smudge. All the patterns on her dress were created by making a lot of separate layers and painting in different patterns on some of them, adding shading on others - and then lowering the opacity of them to make sure the texture of the dress itself would show through. Once these layers were flattened out against the dress itself, I painted over everything with a smaller brush, making sure it all fit together.
All in all, I'm happy that the feeling in the picture is of movement though the character herself seems to be standing still. Something I was definitely aiming for. I had a heavy feeling in my chest for days after having completed it because it was such a rush of inspiration from beginning to the end. One of those images that I started with on a Friday evening and finished on the Sunday morning without having done anything else but grab the occasional bite to eat or moment to sleep in between picking the pen up with the intent of painting, and putting it down again with the pleasure of having finished.