June 17, 2014

Spirited Away – A Commissioned Painting

spiritedAway1spiritedAway9Working on commission is oh so satisfying. I get to paint things I might not have ordinarily painted, and I know that whatever I’m working on has a forever home waiting for it. In this case, I ventured into Anime for a client who supplied the subject matter. I used to watch Anime back when I was a teen. We called it Japanimation back then. I don’t know if that’s considered derogatory or not right now, I apologize if it is. My eldest spawn has assured me that Magna and Anime are the terms we use now.

That makes me feel so damn old.

spiritedAway8spiritedAway7As with all my paintings, I start with the background and preferably using knives. The spread of the paint is smoother and faster and it gets me warmed up and ready to go. A painting like this, based on an image that has so many details, gets simplified down. I don’t paint hyper realism and I know I was commissioned because the client liked my style so I worked the way I work.

spiritedAway6spiritedAway5So you can see through the progression that I went from dark to light and from fuzzy to detailed. Getting in the feeling of sky and water were critical but since I love painting water, it was also easy peasy. I was going for a sense of well lit town in the background rather than detailing every home and building. I did add more detail to the clock tower but that was due to composition. Creating interest in the background to make the foreground pop.


When the background was essentially done, I moved to foreground. The reason I paint the entire background in, even where I know there is going to be content, is because it makes the paint strokes even. And the other reason is because it gives me the flexibility to change the composition as I go. Because I worked thick with paint, the background was still wet and I was able to scrape away the paint where the girl was going to be. Very cool ghost for placement at first.


From this point, it’s just a matter of building details up until the painting is done. I always say every painting is in the details and it’s so very true. It is amazing how a choice of colour or a dot of white can make or break a painting.


If you have a fandom or subject you would love to see in paint, let’s talk! Not only will you get a custom made piece at emerging artist prices, but you can see the painting come to life live on Facebook as I work. How cool is that?