My little brother (okay, little by just 18 months) got married in June and it was just so great. I finally have a sister (in law) and it was so exciting to be a part of their special day and the months leading up to it. I wanted to do something special for them for Christmas, and decided to test my painting skills.
They did a sparkler sendoff and the photographer captured this completely magical photo of them kissing at the end of the night, surrounded by light and love. It was already such an artsy, interesting photo, that I thought it would be fantastic rendered in watercolor.
Of course, the hardest part about painting (for me) is setting up the drawing… so I cheated. I downloaded the photo, posterized it in Photoshop, then laid it against the window and traced the major outlines. Then I flipped it over and rubbed the image to transfer my pencil lines to the paper.
This was far more technical and less creative than drawing the image by eye… but it also meant they were still shaped like real people. So I am really glad I did it this way.
Then I got to fill in with watercolor, starting with major shadows. The blending and the shading on such a dynamic image was really fun.
The thing I was most worried about was mixing a realistic skin tone. That, and shadowing/defining the hands… I feel like those are two things that can so easily turn out completely wrong. But I think I managed okay, and didn’t accidentally turn them too orange or too pink, or peach colored crayola crayon like back in kindergarten. Basically, I was scared they’d end up looking scary, and that didn’t happen!
I stylized the sparklers and removed the bystanders in the name of art. I tried to make it feel magical, like shooting stars wishing them well on their new life together.
Finally, a black frame and a clean white mat elevated it and added that extra bit of contrast.
It was such a fun project and a joy to give.