During one of our excursions to a zoo we found a statue that I was instantly taken with. The flowing robes, her pedestal, and the serene look she possessed just really appealed to me. I couldn’t find a marker to give me any idea of what the statue was supposed to represent, if anything, so I decided to call it the Lotus Goddess. The name seemed appropriate to me because of the flower in her hand and the pedestal she’s standing on. This blog will explore the creation of my Lotus Goddess artwork.
Click on the thumbnail to the left to watch a time lapse video on YouTube for this artwork.
I had this narrow piece of wood that fit the image wonderfully. Here I’ve just transferred the image to the wood and I’m making sure I didn’t miss any lines.
With the trace lines from the photo transferred I started to burn in the trace lines.
Next I started burning in the really dark areas on the statue.
I also worked a little on the face and immediately ran into problems. My goddess didn’t look serene; instead she looked like she got a whiff of something that smelled bad.
Instead of fighting the face, I moved to a different area to work. I find this method works for me. I’ll go back to the problem area repeatedly and work a little bit on it until I get it fixed, or completely give up.
In this photo I’m continuing to work on the robe. For some reason I love working on ‘fabric’ that has a lot of folds and creases.
Here I’m starting on the pedestal. I thought they looked like a representation of lotus flower petals.
Continued work on the pedestal.
The actual statue was resting on a mossy covered slab of concrete, but I wanted something simple so I changed the foundation to rock.
Since I was already working at the bottom of the artwork, I started in on the lower portion of the robe.
Finishing up. I really loved burning the robes on this statue. I love the gentle folds with the highlights on the crest of the fold and the dark shadows in the creases. The combination makes wonderful contrast and artwork needs contrast to help it catch and hold the viewer’s eye.
With the lower portion of the robe done I started to concentrate on the next section of the robe. Exciting news, there are more folds and creases in that section too!
Continued work on the robe.
Working on folds of the robe near her middle.
I’m doing a little work on the face again; very little. One of my high school art teachers told us that when working on faces, work on it upside down. By inverting the face the brain has a harder time recognizing facial features, so it becomes easier to burn the shapes you see. Unfortunately that method doesn’t really work for me, but if you have problems with faces try it and see if it works for you.
I’m back to working on the robe and the many folds along the arm.
Continued work on the robe.
And more work. Don’t get me wrong I was enjoying this immensely; lots of folds and creases. How can this be bad?
Here I’m starting on the lotus flower she is holding. At least I assume it’s a lotus flower.
In this photo I’m adding the tiny cast shadows from the beads on her necklace. They were a simple matter of dabbing the pen tip along the lower ends of the beads.
Working on the hands. I had problems with the hands too. The lighting wasn’t the greatest, so it was hard to see what was going on with her hands and my artwork wasn’t very big.
Working on the other hand. I like to tell myself that most people don’t really look that closely at the detail in artwork. I don’t know if this is really true or not, but it’s a comforting thought when I’m working on problem areas that aren’t central to the artwork.
I’m back to working on the face again. This time I put the reference material right next to the artwork hoping that would make it easier to render the facial features correctly.
I think it did help as my goddess was looking happier and less like something smelled bad.
Even though inverting the work doesn’t help me much with faces, it did help with the pull-away strokes I used along her jaw. They started at the bottom of her jaw and faded near her cheeks, so this angle made it easier to get the result I wanted with the stroke.
Here I’m using the micro writing tip to burn in the small fine detail on her face.
Here I’m finishing up her hand. This was another area that I worked repeatedly; trying to get it just right. I have to admit that I gave up and settled with what I did. Her hands are my least liked feature on this artwork.
Finishing up the other hand.
Fine-tuning a spot on the robe.
The last thing I had left to burn was her crown. The reference photo showed a person meditating, but I didn’t want to attempt putting that kind of detail in such a small space.
Here’s a close-up of her face and the meditating person on the crown.
I had saved the crown for last because I couldn’t think of what to put on it. Todd provided the solution by telling me to use a lotus flower. Duh! Why didn’t I think of that? In this photo I’m finishing up the lotus flower.
The very last thing I do with all of my artwork is mist it liberally with water.
After misting I use a paper towel and lightly rub it over the surface to remove excess water.
Here’s how it looked after I was done. I do this to get an idea of how it will look after it’s sealed. I’m checking to make sure the edges of the robe area easily seen against the wood background.
Below I’ve got my final artwork next to the reference photo for comparison. In case you have a hard time telling, my artwork is on the left.
Looking at the reference photo, and comparing it to the artwork I created, what do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts on these things.
That’s it for this blog. I wish I knew more about the statue as I’m curious how tall it is, what it’s made out of, who created it, does it represent someone or something specific, etc.
Overall I thought my artwork turned out fairly well and I really had a lot of fun working on it. Ok, I had a lot of fun working on everything except the face and hands.
Lastly to answer a few commonly asked questions. The artwork measures 5 ½ by 11 inches (14 x 27.9 cm), was burned on basswood, and it took me 9 1/2 hours to complete it.
Until the next blog,
Oct 27, 2017
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