September 24, 2015

Daenerys – Day 23 Challenge Painting

Game of Thrones is a show I really want to like. I follow the memes and updates on various social media but beyond watching a couple of first season episodes, I really haven’t watched it. There’s too much violence and other things for my taste. But the characters are addictive and powerful and so I’m following from the ten thousand foot view which works just fine for me.


This scene was so visually powerful. When I look for images to paint, colour and emotion drive the choices. Daenerys in this scene is so different from the person I saw in season one. And she radiates danger in a very deceptive package. Mother of dragons. BAMF was what one of my friends called her.

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I switched back to the black canvas for this piece because I wanted the pop of colour that only comes with the black. For a few layers I regretted it because I loved the way the paint felt when working on a white ground. I even considered making two versions of this piece for comparison. But I always look at my paintings in progress as a series of layers and a painting that doesn’t work is just one missing a few key layers. This was no exception.

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When I paint, I think about the whole canvas at a time. You can see in the image where there are large portions without colour, like in her hair, the painting looks unbalanced and the colours look wrong. That changes dramatically when I added her hair colour in.

This is incredibly important for artists to remember, because every decision made when painting is affected by balance. Finishing one section of a painting off before touching another can cause disaster. It’s far better to paint the whole canvas at once, bringing it to completion in stages.


There’s always a point in a painting where everything is painted and things look ok. Maybe even good. And this is where it gets tough. At this point I was tired and three hours into this painting but at the same time, I knew I could get to a finished state in one session. So close! If you compare the two pics above, you can see the difference detail makes. Smoothing colours, refining lines, and even adding in reflections all take paintings to the next level.

Then the hard part becomes knowing when to stop. It’s so easy to fiddle for a long time making minute adjustments. But sometimes the adjustments break a painting, so the last half hour or so becomes a war of done/not done. I fought that battle on this one, taking 3 final photos and every photo showed me an area I needed to touch up until I said “enough.”

I’m incredibly happy with the end result. Proper photos will show how the colours actually glow. Blues are very blue and the power just flows from Daenerys in a way that you can’t quite see here.




Acrylic on canvas 

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I’m currently in the midst of a 30 Paintings, 30 Days challenge! Follow along on Facebook,Twitter, and Tumblr to see the action as it happens. Want more info? You can check out the challenge here.