Posts Tagged ‘painting’

The other night I finished a painting of a leafy sea dragon. I saw one of these beautiful fish a week or so ago on TV and decided that it would be a really fun thing to paint. I hunted down a couple of different reference pictures online, and from those, drew out an original pose and composition.

The painting is mostly watercolors on cold press paper. I worked from the background to the foreground, laying washes and building up shadows one layer at a time. When the painting was nearly complete, I went in with colored pencils and outlined areas that I wanted extra separation in. The end result looks a little like a shadow box: flat layers built on top of one another to create an illusion of depth. You can view this and more of my work by visiting my website: Shaunart.net This painting is for sale as a print on Etsy!


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Here’s a little painting that I did a while back but haven’t had a chance to talk about. This is my Blue Chameleon; he is done in watercolors on cold press paper, and took about three hours to paint.

He is currently in a cute little green frame along side my turtle mascot, which is in a matching green frame. The two of them will be hanging side by side at my open house this Saturday, Aug 4th, at 122 Western Ave, Lowell, MA 01851, Studio #527, from 12-5pm.

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After spending Spring break 2012 in Sicily as part of a travel & art class at University of Hartford, I came back to the United States ready to make artwork about what struck me most during my time abroad. I am extremely proud of these three paintings. They can be viewed larger in the color illustration gallery.

My work is about the relationship between the Island of Sicily and the inhabitants that have shaped and changed the face of the island overtime in order to live, grow, and worship there. Sicily is a land of abundant natural beauty that spills over the hills and cliffs in the form of brightly colored volcanic stone and sedimentation, and densely textured, luscious foliage that springs from the fertile soil. With so much potential in the ground, the Island has passed through the hands of many cultures over the millennia, all of which have shaped and tamed the Island to fit their needs without ever covering up the Island’s natural beauty.

In other parts of the modern world, the United States included, too much is done to pave over nature and replace it with sterile modern comforts. In these places the dialogue with the earth is lost. In Sicily, they use the earth without ever losing sight of it, and there is a respect for the permanence, strength, and life-giving qualities of stone. It is the delicate influence of man over nature that produces some of the most beautiful sites on the island, where man attempts to manicure the land’s raw potential, and turn it into something that will feed his stomach, nourish his soul, and shield him from the elements.

This series of watercolors is a depiction of those three basic and universal human needs which are met through collaboration with the earth. The pursuit to feed oneself and ones family is seen in the farms and orchards that blanket the volcanic hills which make this growth possible. The quest to live comfortably, shielded from the wind, rain, and cold can be seen in the stone apartments that rise out of the ground. The need to worship and feel apart of a community is literally carved from the Island in the form of temples that span the ages.

The physical earth of Sicily is a connective tissue that links and satisfies all of man’s needs; it links individuals to communities, past to present, and mortals to their gods. When all aspects of life are tied together through a connection to the earth, that is when life is most beautiful, and it is a feeling that I would like to remember.

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Yesterday I attended a pointe class at ‘The Studio, A Dance Center for Adults’ in Brookline, MA. A friend of mine takes classes there, and she was able to arrange for me to come into a class with my camera to get some reference for a possible future body of work.

I did my best to stay out of the dancers’ way, and as a result I spend a lot of time crawling around on the floor or in a doorway. But I was never kicked, so I guess I succeeded.

With the help of rapid burst, I took just under 1000 pictures of yesterday’s dancers. I don’t know exactly what I am going to do with them just yet, but when I figure it out I will be sure to let you know!

Here are some stand-out shots from the session. Now, what makes a good photograph is not necessarily what makes good photo reference for a painting. So you can expect to see totally different images in whatever I make from these.

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Last painting done for my senior thesis! This one is of two modern dancers whom I photographed at the University of Hartford Hartt School. They were a joy to photograph, and provided my camera with all sorts of elegant  and gravity defying shots. I chose to paint this particular pose because it felt most personal out of all of the moments I captured on film that day.

This painting was done in watercolor on cold press paper, and finished off with colored pencil.

I got so much great reference that day, I am sure I will use these two again in another piece in the future. Maybe I will do a whole series of dancers!

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Part of my senior thesis project was to do a series of three. I chose to do a series of three portraits, of three women, in three different modes of costume, interacting with three different classifications of animals.

The first portrait is of a woman in a tradition costume. A garment invented in the distant past, worn today for celebrations or special occasions. All three paintings started with photo reference; each model dawned the appropriate clothing, and was photographed either outside or in a studio setting with adequate lighting. The next step was to do a final sketch, transfer to illustration board, and finally, begin painting.

Each painting consists of a liquid acrylic under painting, watercolor, and colored pencil. The second panting is of a a woman in a contemporary, normative mode of costume, or as most people know it–street clothes.

The third and final painting in the series also happens to be a self portrait, to fill another requirement of my senior thesis project. Here I am wearing an obscure, decorative form of costume, or the sort of stuff that most people think of when they hear the term costume.

One of my favor animals since childhood has been the Komodo dragon, but I can’t fit one of those on my arms, so I settled for the Australian monitor lizard instead. It is closely related to the Komodo dragon, and is just as smart, but a lot smaller.

You can view this and other brand new illustrations in my color illustration portfolio.

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Right now I am sitting in my studio taking a short break from painting. The semester is coming to an end but because of all of the interruptions to my work and the work of my classmates, we all have a lot of of work to get done by the twenty first.


Right now I am waiting for a layer of paint to dry before I can hopefully finish this last assignment for advertising illustration. Then I have two very large two-page spreads to work on for book illustration class. In addition, I have final projects to wrap up in three independent studies. The one nice thing about independent studies is that I can set my own deadlines. Still, I will be working up until the very end.

I wanted to write this blog post as a general checking-in update, since I haven’t had much time lately to update the blog, and as a way of relieving my stress through journaling.

I am painting fire right now and it is really causing me some headaches. This is like my forth attempt on this area of the illustration, but the process has renewed my appreciatiation for tube acrylics.


I hope you enjoy these progress pictures of what I am currently working on.

Okay, that paint is dry. Will post again soon!

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Today I’ve added two new paintings to the Illustration gallery. This set of two was designed for my advertising illustration class to appear on bottles of wine. Our assignment was to come up with two different wine labels, done in a comparable style, that features two different animals: one for white wine, and one for red.

I choose to paint two aquatic, arctic animals to represent perhaps a chilled wine. I wanted to paint two poster-like images that match in composition and color, and when placed side by side the backgrounds of each painting line up to create a panoramic view. The animals are iconic in pose and expression, and their features are highly idealized.

I intentionally made these paintings very colorful and bright so that they would catch the consumer’s eye. If this label were hypothetically placed on a shelf with a hundred other common wine labels, it should stand out because of its contrast and saturation.


These paintings were done using acrylic inks for the under painting, watercolors for most of the painting as you see it now, and a little bit of colored pencil to finish off small details such as the walrus’ whiskers.

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Here is the first assignment from my oil painting class. Our task was to define an alter-ego for ourselves, and to paint our likeness on this fantasy identity.

I decided that my alter-ego would be an exotic snake charmer, hiding from the dessert sun in her lavish arabian, or maybe Egyptian palace. My alter-ego would be a very mysterious and even dangerous person, hence she keeps the company of snakes. There are nineteen snakes in this painting. My birth year is represented by the snake in the Chinese zodiac, and I’ve always really liked to draw reptiles..so why not be a snake charmer? I don’t like the hot sun, or the sand but my alter-ego embraces a slightly sandy lifestyle than me. But even the pretend me would spend her time in the shade.

Taking reference for this photo was really fun. I already owned most of the costume, and I wrapped a towel around my shoulder for the python. This piece was very meticulous to paint, but I enjoyed myself. I think that the way I envisioned the painting rendered lent itself well to oils. I learned a lot from this piece, and even though oils may not be my medium of choice going forward, I am happy to have learned how to use them and to learn what sets them apart visual and technically from water based mediums.

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Last painting of the year from my Acrylics illustration class! I decided to take a more stylized route for this assignment, which was to include a turtle. It was an extremely open assignment, really. It could have to do with anything we wanted as long as there was a turtle in it. As I was doing research on turtles, trying to get some ideas, I kept admiring how cool Alligator snapping turtles look. They are monstrous! So I decided I would paint a turtle monster. I haven’t felt like painting people lately; I wanted to do something more quite and natural than the human world. I wanted to make a fantasy landscape without any people in the scene.

So I made myself a giant turtle. Maybe it’s a forest spirit or maybe its a monster. Maybe it’s a prehistoric beast or maybe it’s an undiscovered species of giant turtle that lives high in the mountains.  Either way, this turtle needed to have an environment ripe with adventure. So I drew steep cliffs and foggy mountains in the distance, and a waterfall that spread mist over everything. The giant snapping turtle sits precariously on the edge of a cliff with its mouth ajar. As snapping turtle often chill out with their mouths wide open, ready to lob off any fingers that get to close. Or in this case, birds and pterodactyls. Under the snapping turtle is many smaller turtles. Which, if they were compared to a human, would not be small at all.  They just look small resting under the their enormous protector.

This painting was done in pencil, then colored with washes of acrylic ink, and finally, finished with a little colored pencil. With this painting I begin the process of finding myself a style which I will work in when I return to school in the fall.

It’s going to be a busy summer.

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