Sea Daydream: Process Part 1

A while back I said I'd post the process this piece went through so here we go!

Sea Daydream: Process Part 1

Here's the finished version. As I mentioned, she went through a lot of changes.

oil painting of a woman holding a sand dollar and staring dreamily into the distance, perhaps she's a mermaid, by christine mitzuk
A personal piece, Sea Daydream.











initial concept for sea dream rough sketch by christine mitzuk initially for pisces image for Llewellyn's 2015 astrological calendar
Initial concept sketch for what would become Sea Daydream. It was a rejected concept for the Pisces image for the astrological calendar.

She started out as a rejected sketch from the astrology calendar project. This was an early concept for the Pisces image. The gulls, fish with connecting thread, jellyfish, and orchid in her hair are all symbols related to Pisces.

Since it was rejected, and I get to keep the rights to my work from this project, I decided to make this into a personal painting.

I was enamored of the dreamlike quality. My intent was to create a misty, nebulous mood so it was unclear if she was dreaming of the sea or immersed within it.

On to thumbnails!

mitzuk_seadaydream_thumbs2The image was no longer associated with Pisces so I could do away with the ribbon and glyph at the bottom.  I could also get rid of the thread linking the fish.

To make it my own I decided that I wanted to play up the nebulous, dream-like quality.  I needed to figure out how to create that feeling so I did lots of thumbnails. I also brainstormed words that I thought related to the sea and the quality/mood I was after.

mitzuk_seadaydream_thumbs1I'll often do thumbnails on printer paper. Something just to get the ideas out and not be overly precious about them (not yet anyway).

The First Larger Sketch

Thinking I was all set, I did a line drawing on vellum (Canson Vellum, 9"x12", 55 lb). At this point I referred to some photo reference I took of myself in the pose. I also referenced fish and jellyfish. I was just roughing them all in, going for general shape and placement.

pencil sketch on vellum
Larger sketch. Pencil on vellum.

I didn't get very far with this. While trying to make things look "right" I made it stiff. Plus there was something else missing. It just wasn't sitting right with me. I let it sit for a bit and gave it some thought.

Tune in next week for part 2 as we venture further down the winding path of composition.