Selkie in Multimedia
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Salvador Dali (1904 - 1989)
Selkie in MultimediaBehind the Art
by Melissa Acker
Here we go again! Another multimedia piece, because they are fast and I need all the help I can get. I like working with ink because of the intense contrast you can immediately drum up. When youíre trying to make the illusion of depth, a dark background helps a lot, and draws all the more attention to the lighter areas, making it easier to draw attention to where you want the eye to go.
First off, of course, as with anything done with watercolor, you need some idea of what is going to be dark and what is going to be light, as the light areas have to be saved, especially when working with ink. A rough outline drawing is all Iíll need for this piece; a basic silhouette of the selkie will do for now.
Next up, we dive right into the ink. I keep the space that is the background fairly damp to keep the ink from drying in hard edges. Keeping the upper portion darker helps the illusion of the creature emerging from the darkness. Going around the silhouette of the selkie and the bubbles is the hardest part. Once the ink is almost dry, I sprayed some water with a small spray bottle over the darker areas to create some texture.
I let the ink dry overnight -- it takes longer to dry than watercolor, and lifts a little easier, so I donít take any chances. Once itís dry, a wash of winsor blue over the whole background, with some ultramarine in the darker areas, starts to set the tone and color palette. The ultramarine isnít just darker, itís more opaque, and covers the ink a little more. Once the background is completely dry, I use some burnt sienna mixes to start laying in the selkie; both winsor blue and ultramarine, the colors used in the background, darken some of the shadows and stay in harmony with the water.
I darken the brown mixes, again using burnt sienna with winsor blue and ultramarine, and begin to build some form on the selkie. Making the edges of the shadows rough and tendril-like adds to the illusion of the water reflections. And once all that is completely dry, small dots of alizarin crimson make each pearl.
Colored pencil time, and I had four or five different brown colors I used to make the shadows darker and keep building form. Some blue tints on the sides for some reflected color, and a slightly bluish-white pencil added water highlights to the fur and eyes. The pearls were surprisingly easy; an orange highlight on one side and the bluish-white one on the other made each one pop right out. I also add some very light red areas around the pearls. Add in some whiskers and weíre all done!
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