Sunday, October 29, 2023

THIS ONE or THAT ONE....Let's talk about colorful grays


These two bitty sketches are preliminary work to see if I want to do a full 11x14 inch painting of the source photo.


I started out layering in an acrylic wash of hansa yellow over both my 5x7 canvas boards. On THIS ONE I grabbed a couple of my used paint palettes and lightly daubed on brush strokes of mixed colors.....mingling warm and cool colours for a grayed effect. I didn't go too dark in value so's I could use brighter colors in the shadows. On THAT ONE I layered in a medium red and a pthalo blue glaze in varying values over the hansa yellow to make an optical gray, going a tad darker in value to allow for more colourful “bounce” lights.


After this dried, I went over both sketches with more opaque colours to see how far I could push the backlit effect.

 And finally I rummaged around in my studio and pulled out my trusty, “highly technical” view finders......i.e. two pieces of cardboard cut in “L” shapes. I focused in on the people more in THIS ONE and more on the long view of the scene in THAT ONE. I liked the highlit awning and backlit shadows of the figures and streetlamp. The play of grays in the shadows would allow for a lot of interesting side by side color combinations.

Either way I go.....or even if I do this as a full's been a fun experiment.




Saturday, October 14, 2023

This one or That one : Tiny Pond Park Castle Edition


                                              Two 5 x 7 inch acrylic sketches on canvas board



This time around I'm painting some small colour comps to explore the same subject with low key and high key colours.

I've posted a couple of 5x7 inches acrylic sketches of a “castle” my husband Frank Lyne (sculptor) built, by hand, beside a pond on our farm. Below you can see my painting set up....plastic palettes with colour wheel mixes.....a colour gamut …...and some source photos I took. 



For both sketches, I started out with an under painting of washes....blended using acrylic flow medium. This medium loosens the acrylic binder so the tube paint acts like a watercolour wash. I then switched to acrylic glazing medium to put in more precise shadows, keeping with the maxium to paint shadows transparently when possible. I try to use only one colour at a time, let that dry then go onto the next colour, until I get the value of shadow that I want.

Finally I switched to all Golden OPEN paints for the semi-opaque and opaque lights and high lights. I adore the sparkle that comes from using warm and cool colours side by side. 

  I painted both scenes keeping in mind that a 4 point spread on the value chart results in the effect of if an object had a highlight of 1 then the shadow would be a 4 or darker to get the effect. Value is necessary to have a cohesive image.....but a wider range of effects can be had when you also use warm and cool colours to enhance the image's depth.

The darker or more low key (THIS ONE) version looks closer to the photograph and more realistic to the value compression by the camera. I tried to use mostly the darker set of values on the ten point value chart.

The lighter or more high key (THAT ONE) takes a bit more license with the lights' colours to emphasize the “glow” of the scene. I used mostly the value scale steps in the ligher register. I tried to add back colours that the camera had replaced with black, in that particular exposure.

Which one do you like better??

Saturday, September 23, 2023

NOAPS Art Challenge 2023 or Seeing Red

NOAPS Art Challenge 2023
Alison Davis Lyne

This blog post features a small colour sketch I did for a #NOAPSARTCHALLENGE prompt. The reference photo was in color and featured foreground trees and background lake and mountains.

Of course me being me, I had to make changes……so I faded and cooled the background a bit, changed the size of the background trees and lightened the colors and faded them a bit on the two trees on the right. I used somewhat warmer colours in my choice of palette.

That paved the way for emphasis on the foreground tree, shadows and grasses. I wanted to emphasize the warmth of the sunshine on the tree trunk and the highlighted grass clumps.

Along the way I noticed that my values weren’t as I wanted them, but was distracted by the  hi value/intensity colours I’d painted in.  So I went back to an old illustrator trick.  I grabbed an old sheet of red acetate and laid it over both the reference photo and my 5x7 inch sketch. 

The red acetate canceled out the greens, and revealed just the values.  I quickly noticed that the foreground trunk really needed darkening with an extra dash of intensity. I made the appropriate adjustments and called it done!

Sunday, March 26, 2023

2023 Celebration of the Arts Show at WKU Kentucky Museum


This bust, Homage was Frank Lyne's entry for the 2023 Celebration of the Arts show by Abound Credit Union in the WKU Kentucky Museum. It's on display March 4th thru April 14, 2023

Blue Heron

This is my painting entry, Blue Heron, in the Celebration of the Arts show in the Kentucky Museum. 

This pic gives you an idea of the size of the Blue Heron painting.

This pic shows Homage on display. Frank's jeans are to the right.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Cover for Hairt Before Dawn or It All Started with a Dog

Hairt Before Dawn written by Grace E. Howell

Cover Art by Alison Davis Lyne

You could say it all started with a dog.....this old mutt of a coon hound called Copper Top.....who was wandering around in our neighborhood, looking for his lost love.

But that wouldn't be exactly right. It really started when I got an email from an old SCBWI friend Grace Howell, who had just finished her novel, Hairt Before Dawn and wanted me to illustrate the cover. We discussed the concept for the cover and Grace sent me the book jacket blurb: 

Darkness hides evil lurking to destroy.

In 1904, the Black Patch Wars set neighbor against neighbor in a violent struggle between tobacco farmers and against big business. Fifteen-year-old Harriette Lindstrom, known as dumb Hairt, is caught up in the conflict. But nothing can stop Hairt—not blindness, ridicule nor shunning, not fire demons nor the evil Mr. Dayton. Determined to prove her worth, she follows the spirit of Maybelle her birth mother and leaves the farm, her adopted family, and her faithful coonhound Mutt. At blind school, her dream becomes a nightmare. Only the song in her heart, her love for the boy with the magic voice, and her strong will can pull her through the burning fires of rejection and isolation to face the guns of the dreaded Night Riders.

So with the concept of showing Hairt holding her arms open for her faithful coonhound Mutt, in place, I pulled some reference photos I had on file. I pulled the pic of our neighborhood coonhound, and one of some local woods in a mysterious dawn light, along with a old family pic from Grace Howell. She had drawn the inspiration of how the main character, Hairt, would look from that photo, and I just loved the image. Here I have just started painting the back lit dawn kissed woods. The soft dawn light would be brushed over the dark trees later.

I painted the cover image at a bit bigger than the required size for the cover, 6 x 9 inches allowing enough “wiggle” room for the printer to comfortably place the title and cover text. 

Now you can see most all the important bits are in place, the woods lit with a soft dawn glow, and a bit of a blueish mist of the loving spirit of Hairt's mother, faithful coonhound Mutt and of course Hairt herself.

Now comes the moment of truth for an illustration, when you remove the tape holding the bristol board down to the rigid board, and see what it all looks like. You can see a small bit of buckling from some juicy acrylic washes....but the bristol board does lay flat in the scanner bed.....whew!

One bit of detail in the cover I particularly like is Hairt's gaze. Hairt is going blind, and she wouldn't see very well in early dawn light....yet knowing Mutt is close.....she turns towards the dog, but gazes right past Mutt. This bitty detail gives a hint to the casual viewer that something is a bit “off” with Hairt to provoke the thought of “what's going on here?”

I really love doing book covers. Talented authors, like Grace Howell, get the fun of writing all the lovely bits of their story using many thousands of words. Us book cover illustrators only get the proverbial “one picture is worth a thousand words”, to render a snapshot of the book. 

Here's a link to the book: 

Here's a link to Grace Howell's webpage: