Saturday, May 1, 2010

A small Gauguin parody and study

Still studying color theory and making color tests like crazy. I did a small painting for the friends of  the FurryMania forum based on Gauguin's "Spirit of the Dead Watching (Manao tupapau)". The colors are based on a photo which is probably quite different from the original (most other photos are not so green and less saturated), but I liked the photo's green/sienna contrast so I used that. The hoopoe Greta is a character by Sans Souci (take a look at her cool sketch blog!).

Studying the details of Gauguin's painting was interesting. Here he curved the border of the sheets to make the foot almost tangent with it, softening the contrast between the foot and the sheet border. The foot would have broken the border too strongly without the little curve I marked here. The fold under the feet adds variety in the middle of the fruits/flowers pattern below, and adds detail to the area to balance the detailed cushions area.

On the girl's head the bed's border becomes very thin, shifting the viewer's attentio to the figure's face. I tired to keep this effect along the hoopoe's crest.

In the original the shape of the bed sheet is broken by the orange cushion. This is a detail I omitted but it was a mistake because it was very important: it connected the girl's dark shape with the dark background by breaking the bed's border and this adds a lot of depth to the bed, balancing the effects of the loose perspective and shading. In my version the sheet is too striking and the hoopoe looks almost floating in the void. I realized it before finishing but the cushion area was already cluttered because of the boar and there was little room to fix the mistake. A lesson learned.

As seen in the grayscale version the orange cushion is an intermediate value between the light and the dark shapes around it, resulting in a very harmonious values map.

The animal on the background of the original is probably an ox with an oxpecker on top of it - I couldn't find any information about it - but at first glance it looked like a boar with a long ear, and since the forum has a boar mascotte too I turned it into a boar. The curves on the far right of the original may also be the backs of other oxes grazing.

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