I like figureheads. For those that don't know the figurehead is the statue at the front of old sailing ships. For Economic and maneuverability reasons many countries stopped using them, it was too much weight on the prow of the ship.
In some countries they were said to be the Guardians of the sailors, and if anything was to happen to the crew of the ship, the figurehead would guide them into the afterlife.. for ships that didn't have a figurehead, the belief was that the sailors, with no guide to the next world, would roam the seas forever as lost souls.
My series of figurehead paintings is a personification of the statue. What happens once they lead them to the afterlife? where, after such a burden to the souls of the sailors, did they go? rotted away with sunken ships, broken apart to be kindling ? So in that comes the despair and the pain, the broken pieces from turbulent seas, the decayed remains, strapped to the front of a ship to bring peace to those that died a horrible death.
So, back to some lightheartedness :D.
I started this out with a sketch, Ive been pretty fond of using blue lead lately so i went ahead with it here too, i normally use a lighter pencil (4h) but this worked out great. I took a figure drawing sketch i had and redid it as this.
I think, just like many other artist, i have a certain way of doing things, i know many folks that will pace back and forth until their time is right to create, some that will have to bathe beforehand, and me, i have to clean and have my space as clean as possible and everything laid out that i feel i might use, after that then it's a go for some paint, also this is a pretty horrific and anxiety ridden time, should i paint it? will it be the right color the first go? how will this material act with my paint, how will the paint react to the graphite? so many questions.
At about this point i always stop with the color for now, i like to have a base and then come in with a rapido-graph pen and start to put the basic linework down. I also like to cover as much of the pencil lines that i can and come back in with paint to clean up the ones i can't get to with the ink. I also like to come in and crosshatch with a rapido and either do a light coat of acrylic to work the shadows or leave it above the paint layer to do the same.
After i get the rapidograph lines down i like to come in with a tiny tiny brush, i always use different sizes depending on the size of the work im doing. i leave the majority of the rapidograph lines alone but do like to thicken up the edge lines and anywhere that the shadow needs to be a solid shape instead of crosshatching.
At this point the figure is mostly done, i'll always come back in and add a thicker line here or there or chang a highlight but at this point i do nothing with the body color or anything that can alter it beyond repair.
The following is the end result. I added some Smoke / steam to it to add some movement.
Details of the head, i like to add little highlights here and there, they are easily missed the most of the time unless you're looking for it but it gives it a great look i feel.
And this again is the end product.