Monday, January 16, 2012

Year of the Dragon Art

artist Vernita Bridges Hoyt 2012
watercolor on 8x8 inch Arches 140# cp paper 

According to Chinese Astrology, 2012 falls under the Year of the Dragon, starting the 23rd of January 2012 and ending the 9th of February 2013. The Year of the Dragon is said to bring luck. We could all use a little bit of luck this year especially after the recession we have experienced in the past several years. Yes! A little bit of luck! Luck is what we need. 

How to Hatch a Dragon

Liking the idea of a year of luck ahead, I decided to paint a dragon to commemorate this most auspicious event. Having never painted a dragon before, I began to notice children's books, dragon books, dragon illustrations and dragon how-to books at the book stores as well as the arts and crafts stores. Eventually I bought a how-to-draw-dragons manual from Michael's Arts and Crafts store, and then I studied it. The painting shown here is partially out of my imagination. I will give credit where credit is due for the drawing composition—Michael Dobrzycki in a Walter Foster manual. 

Detail of Dragon Breath #1

The placement of the dragon in the broken egg came from the manual, but the paint, the colors, the fire and how-on-earth-to-show-it are straight out of my mind, and that might explain why this painting is a bit cartoonish. The how-to manual shows a pencil drawing dragon with pointed scales on its back; I decided that the scales of a newly hatched dragon wouldn't be developed yet, but the hatchling just might break through the shell of its egg with a newfound fire of Dragon Breath.  I have included cropped images showing a bit of my process in bringing this painting/illustration to a finish.  

Dragon Breath, stage 5. 
Stage 5: I added more shadows throughout and began detailing the fire coming out of the hatchling's mouth. These final shadings and details are coming from my mind as I think about the light source in this scene. Hope I get it close to right. This is a colorful painting for cheer on a gray winter's day.  I have just a little more work before completion. The final 8x8 inch watercolor painting will be shown in the painting's full square format. This is my practice dragon.  The next dragon will be totally of my own invention.


Dragon Breath, stage 4. 
Stage 4: I added more blue glazes to the foreground, spots on the egg, shadows, and more red to deepen the background. All the while I am puzzling over how I want to paint the dragon's breath.


Dragon Breath, stage 3. 
Stage 3: Here I've painted colorations on the dragon's head and body and detail in the eye.


Dragon Breath, stage 2.  
Stage 2: A red background seemed appropriate, and I laid the washes for that and a blue foreground.


Dragon Breath, stage 1.
Stage 1: After my initial sketch in colored pencil, I began to add first watercolor washes and the addition of the hatchling's first breath of fire. Click on image to see my freehand sketch lines.


Shipped— 4 Colorful Cows, pastel 9 x 9 inches
Collector commented, "Love the piece. Thanks." 
January 11, 2012

Thanks to a collector in Austin, Texas, for purchasing my pastel painting 4 Colorful Cows via What fun this piece evokes!

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