The Making of a Fairy – Part Four

The wings have been a struggle! After my purple base layer, I added in some of the background color to the wings, creating the effect of transparency.

I wanted them to stand out, so I decided to outline them, but blend the lines so the details weren’t so sharp. Then I added the detail, swirls and dots to the wings. This made the wings look ‘too drawn’. I wanted the wings to look whimsy, soft and delicate.

I also added a deeper purple to show separation between the two sets of wings. Since the fairy is in profile, one set of wings would have sufficed, because the viewer would think that the wings, from both sides of the fairies shoulder, would line up.

I created my fairy with two sets of wings, angled just slightly apart. I did this because I thought it would show motion, and I had to keep that in mind as I painted, or they would look like just one purple section. Note: purple added to background to unite it to the subject, and background is not painted up to the flowers until the ‘blending step’.

Small wings, and background color blocked in

Small wings, and background color blocked in

After I completed my ‘wing task’ I looked at the painting from a distance. This is something that you should do often when painting. When you are working on a section, you are only focused on that part, and you don’t relate that part to the whole until you back away from your painting.

Well, I know this. I preach it all the time, and I hadn’t followed my own advice. After completing the wings, I realized they were too small. My heart sank. I almost quit and threw the painting in the trash!  Instead, I took white paint, covered up my beautiful purple wings and after the paint was very dry, I began the process of painting my wings, all … over … again!

As I said before, this painting is teaching me much. I need to listen. IF I had listened to Jane’s comment, in which she told me, “the wings are too small” (she sent me an email instead of responding directly to the blog) I would have saved myself MANY hours of painting. I now get the lesson, “listen!”

After I finished my new bigger wings, I didn’t like the swirled lines and dots, so I softened them, and although they are not finished, they are good enough for now.

Larger wings, background blended

Larger wings, background blended

Another ‘grueling project’ was the face. The first face I painstaking painted was too detailed and soft – way too realistic for a fairy. So I added more paint and blended the color much more, painting simple lines to show form. I added some ‘make up’ to the face and I think it looks pretty good. I feel finished with her legs and feet, and her frontal arm. I am not sure how I like the hand – it may need some more work.

The yellow blobs in the background will be the butterflies. You can see purple lines where I imagine the clothing to be. Not sure what that will look like yet.

Background, legs, arm, face, completed.

Background, legs, arm, face, completed.

I have started to do some outlining. I wasn’t going to do that when I started, but I think the outlining process adds to the ‘make-believe’ quality of the image.

I will finish this next week. So I will post once more on this subject to show you the finished piece. Any critiques or comments are richly appreciated.

4 thoughts on “The Making of a Fairy – Part Four

  1. Dear Joanie, Your process and your gorgeous fairy are amazing! Thank you so much for sharing your process! I look forward to the next message!

  2. Joanie,
    I read that you softened the lines and dots on the wings from Picture #2 to #3, but in the photos, I think #2 is “brighter” and gives the illusion of transparency. Maybe the painted original looks a bit different than these photos?
    Also, I think the wings would be set off if they were not exactly the same color as the fairy’s clothes. Maybe consider lightening her body wrap?

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