Sunday, January 15, 2017

Fan Art 2: Queen's Thief - Sea of Olives

Sea of Olives
Based off of The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
Medium: Watercolor
Time: A week
Size: 11x15 in.
Date: January 2017

Other Fan Art for the same series: Costis & Aris

So this is my landscape fan art for the Queen's Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner! I was super excited to do this because I have had a couple scenes that I've been wanting to paint for a long time but alas life so I could never find the time. Then Mrs. Turner announced an ARC contest for her new book so I decided I was just going to go for it!!! This is my first watercolor painting in over 4 years, and there are definitely a lot of things I would have done differently (SUGAR D: ) [which if you'd like to hear more about you can see in the progress section below ;) ] but overall it was really fun and I am relatively happy with it! (Especially since I didn't really have a reference for most of it and mostly just made things up as I went - this was especially fun with the horses cause I never knew which color I'd make them until it happened.)

This is a scene from The Thief. This is one of... three (I think) scenes that I've always wanted to paint from the Queen's Thief series. Basically I pictured the Magus, Pol, Sophos, Ambiades, and of course Gen on horseback looking out over the Sea of Olives which is a huge expanse of olive trees planted ages ago for the gods. I ended up doing this painting in a rush, plus I'm super out of practice with watercolors (my first love <3 ), so as I result there is a lot I would have done differently or planned out better but overall I'm super happy that I finished it and that it looks approximately and especially that my horses are up to my roommates standard which is a huge accomplishment since she's the horse master. Anyways I can't describe how much I love this book series and how happy they make me so I was glad I finally got this out there :D

Note: Like I mentioned I did this in a bit of a rush which was both good and bad. The good was that it was a bunch of fun and I got to do things more spontaneously; the bad was that I didn't get a chance to plan things out super well or to make things super accurate to the series. But overall it was a bunch of fun, I regained some (a very very very small amount) of skills with my beloved watercolors, and this was probably the most original [ironic since it's a fan art ;) ], picture I've ever made (since most of my other paintings were from basically a single photo reference and this one was almost purely made up with various references, none of which were represented in entirety or anything close to it).

Work in progress:

These were some of my sketches for the layout of the picture. I wanted them all to be on horses going through the Sea of Olives, but I also wanted to have the effect of the rows upon rows of olive trees rolling over hills and fading off into the distance. I couldn't figure out a good way to have them both among the olive trees and also able to see far into the distance, so eventually I decided to put them up on a bit of a cliff or rocky area with one olive tree in the foreground and giving them the vantage point of seeing all of the trees in the distance.

Here's the original lightly sponged background rows of olive trees. Of course I couldn't keep it simple and probably redid them and roughed them up at least eight times. I also have a nice wash for the sky (which also ended up getting redone by accident). I believe I was using an indigo for the sky and some sort of Frankenstein green color that was in my palette that I think once contained Viridian Hue. Note I also put liquid frisket in approximate locations for the Magus, Ambiades, and Sophos (though I really should have taken the time to draw them out better because this messed me up a lot later on).

Here I added in the second level of olive trees. I also drew in Gen's horse and an approximation of Gen leaning over half terrified, half too tired/sore/weary to care ;) . [Which my roommate pointed out was much too far back on the horse so I had to shift time around a bit later - oh plus the horse vertical front foot was a bit to far forward so I had to shift that back about a millimeter as well ;) ]

I added some more detailing in the background and had the interesting idea of adding a bunch of cool indigo shadows in for the grove [spontaneously deciding the sun was somewhere over on the left ;) ]

SUGAR - this was horrible. I couldn't decide what I wanted to do for the path that they were on and decided that I was going to put a bunch of different flecks of colors on a mostly brown to dark indigo path. Then I thought putting a salt texture might be cool since it's a watercolor technique I never really used to use at all (simply because it makes a mess plus it makes you wait a long time). Unfortunately for some reason I do not have salt in my dorm room, but I do have sugar... so I thought why not? what's the worst it can do? It was horrible - worse than I ever could have imagined. The sugar dissolved in with the paint and dried in a hard sticky mess - I about thought I had ruined my picture but thankfully I was able to sponge and scrub most of it away though of course it had the effect of practically destroying all of that paper - thank goodness it was just were the ground was though so it was just going to be sorts of brownish and non-distinct anyways. [Also note that in addition to sugar I also picked some salt off of some peanut butter pretzels and add them to the monstrosity ;) ]

Here is my fixed path which I gave a dried sponge texture. I also tried to make the foreground olive bearable and failed.

I made the foreground olive slightly more bearable. I was absolutely in love with the trunk though! Yes! I painted Magus, Ambiades, and Sophos (and theirs horses minus the tails). I really wanted Sophos shirt to be bright and rich (since Ambiades should look dull in comparison) but it bothers me a bit... Also note that I had a lot of fun making up horse colors. The furthest eventually became something of a bay. I really wanted the second horse to have lavender highlights in the sun so it became a brownish color. And I wanted to use my yellow ochre on Sophos' horse - so that's how it became a light chestnut-ish.

I started on Pol's horse. Oh! and I also did the rocks! I was really happy with the couple of rocks on the bottom but I was making up the ones on the right as I went so they ended up a bit blurry. I was going to go back in and mess with them a bit but didn't have time.

Pol's horse was totally looking orange and purple for a bit but I ended up pulling it off! And for the last horse I decided to do a nice pure burnt sienna!

I added some more details on the horse, adding muscle tone, etc. And......

Voilà! [Though hopefully I can get a better picture in the daylight] - I was rather proud of Gen's braid and I thought the color on his horse came out great!


We have a limited supply of paper towels in my dorm room so my arm naturally became my blotting paper... Good thing this wasn't acrylic ;)

My palette! It is wonderfully speckly and artsy! I need to get a better palette but this one actually worked out pretty well~

Well that's all!!! I had a bunch of fun with this and it was nice to paint again!

Have a good day and be blessed in your endeavors!!! ;)