The inspiration for this charming Sunflower Fairy came from the artists young niece, who was photographed sitting in a tree. Children make wonderful subjects as they are so relaxed and supple in their positions, and sketching them from a series of photographs is the easy way to go about it. Don't ask them to pose—candid shots look much more natural.
Once you are satisfied with the positioning anJ perspective, ink in lite face, doth es, and hands ici tJTfi rnter hut still soft lines. Carefully position the fairy on the bent heaJ of a sunflower, fake note of hoic the petals twist anJ curl.
Making any necessary to position an J stature, lightly sketch the form in pencil onto bleedproof paper, adding the outline for your interpretation of icings. You can copy butterfly u ings, or he inspired by the petals of the sunflowers. The fairy shape—with feet, hands, ears, I,air, and clothes—begins to appear as a soft sketch, easy to adjust at this point with an eraser if needed.
C.i J m iu m Yellow
Tentatively block in the kise color for the hat an J shin tones so adjustments can he maJe an J the areas of shading added Liter.
Ink the whole image with a fine outline, hut retain the softness of the face, hands, and fingers. I he hleedproof paper ensures that the ink will not run. Using artist s tape, cover the face, hands, and fingers so they are not smudged hy the pencil as you work around them with a very fine black pen.
You cannot rush this process. You need patience and must he very steady with the ink pen lis it cannot he erased—the only way to correct mistakes is to scrape with a sharp hhide. which can <Lwtage the paper. Carefully ink the whole image.
Photocopy the picture onto watercolor paper for coloring. This is a necessary step so that the ink will not run into your icatercolors.
to he a focal point of the picture, making a natural starting point. Apply a first hase color of a cadmium and lemon yellow mix, laying a thin veil of color to express the delicate nature of (he diaphanous wings.
Gradually add more of tL-yellow mix to give shape and shading, and then paint fine lines for the vents.
yj Gradually sketch in the hair an J the facial expression, adding touches of alizarin crimson to the lips and checks. 7 he seed heads on the hat can now be painted in sepia tones, and the first base color for the tights lightly applied using a mix of sap green and yellow ocher.
of sap green with shading in burnt umber; leaving highlights that re tea! the leg shapes.
The first base color for the clothes can now he added\ using the same color mixes as those for the hat and the wings. This shading with burnt umber is a continuous process, and you will need to make constant adjustments as you go along.
C_ / Apply a pale lauer of cadmium yellow over the sunflower petals and centers. Add touches of sap green to the unripe seeds in the centers and then outline each seed using yellow ocher an J a sepia wash, taking care to maintain the spiral pattern of the seed heads.
Build up the shading on the petals gradually, using fluides of yellow ocher with touches of hum t umher. You need to hear in mind the direction of the kght and imagine how the light and shade will picker on the petals.
The flower heads now have form and
Paint the stems, sepals, and leaies with mixes of sap green, yellow ocher, and burnt umber and then add the final delicate detail, shading, and line work on the leaves and petals with very sharp watercolor pencils.
52 i Directory of Fairies
Working from reference material, such as sketches, use your imagination to work out your iJeas. When you have achieved a satisfactory composition, draw it out on icatercolor paper using a 411 pencil. Induje details such its those in the hair, on the dress, and in urn j*.
When the wash is dry, dratc over all the pencil lines with the pen and sepia ink, larying the lines from thin to thick. If the ink appears too dark, tone it down hy diluting with a little water.
This fairy is based on a photograph of the model, observation of natural plant and flower forms, and the artists imagination. A high viewpoint has been chosen so that we are looking down on the fairy, making the figure seem smaller in relation to the surrounding flowers and leaves. The painting is built up by alternating watercolor washes with pen and ink work, and highlights added with acrylic gesso.
Mix a pale wash of sepia and indigo and, using a AJo. 10 hrush, apply it over the whole image, working from top to bottom (see page 17) to neutralize the white of the paper While the tcash is wet, lift out highlight areas ott the fairy and flowers hy blotting with a paper towel (see pitge 23).
Using the large brush anJ mixtures of Hooker's green, turquoise, an J burnt sienna, paint in the shapes of the sluidow areas between the leaves, flowers, an J fairy, leaving touches of the off-white paper so the ground Joes not appear flat an J *M. The septa ink will bleeJ into the tcatercolor washes to create a natural shadow. Drip tinu drops of clear water into the paint while still wet to add texture.
Paint the leaves, using a large brush, by laying thin, flat washes of a sap green. Hooker's green, and burnt sienna mix. Again, the sepia ink will bleed into the watercolor. Apply a flat wash to the petals, using mixtures of permanent rose, dioxa:ine violet, and turquoise. Keep the w<ishes watery around the wings or lift off excess color with paper towels.
Cadmium Orange Alizarin Crimson Permanent Rose .Mauve
Dioxazine Violet Cobalt Blue I urquoise hmeralil Green Hooker's Green Sap Green Burnt Vienna Sepia Indigo
Wet a Ao. 0 brush, pick up a little ink, and apply it around the contours of the fairy, in the shadow areas on her hair and face, under the chin, in the foils of the dress, and on the wings. The tinker areas of shadow push the light ones forward to empluisfce the forms—you can see this under the fairy's chin, if the ink is too warm in hue, drop in a little turquoise or indigo watercolor while still wet.
zing method (see page 20) is note used to . ^ . layers of color over the whole painting. /\s watercolor is transparent, all the previous shading and modeling will he visible beneath the glazes.
When the underpainting is dry, use a No. 2 brush and a mix of cadmium orange and permanent rose to apply a flat wash over all the areas of bare shin. Working wet into wet (see page 18), drop touches of alizarin crimson into the warmer areas, such as the cheeks, nose, ears, and hands. Adda cobalt blue wash over the dress and shoes, and a very dilute wash of the same color over the wings.
washes of mauve, indigo, and burnt sienna. Keep the washes light and soft edged, and let them blend together in places. As when painting the fairy, use shadows on the petals to create depth, and repeat the process on the leaves, with Hookers green and indigo. Create veins and highlights on the leaves by lifting off paint using a slightly damp brush (see page 23).
Using a No. 2 brush, aJJ more sepia ink in the shaJow areas in the ground to 'knock hack' the vibrancy of the other colors an J sharpen up the Jetail. BuiU up the form an J color on the fairy using the same brush with small washes of alharin crimson, caJmium orange, turquoise, permanent rose, mauve, an J emeraU green, anJ deepen the shadows on the Jress with a stronger mix of blue with a touch of mauve.
Use white acrylic gesso to aJJ highlights, mixing it with watercolor where you want a pale color rather than pure white, such as on (he wing tips anJ flower centers. Use white alone for the highlights on the fairy's clothing anJ wings.
Apply further gla2es oter all the elements. Paint a gesso anJ pale blue wash over the wings. Finally, use white gesso for the specks of star Just around the wings, placing a small Jot of paint an J then encircling it with a thinner wash of watereJ gesso.
All fairies are elusive, and are usually invisible to mortals, but some are more ethereal than others. Unlike the earth-bound nature fairies, ethereal fairies are closer to the world of spirit than matter.
Autumn Dance * Wenciie SkjOndal
(¿bow) The inspiration (or this painting came from the sight of children u iclring in autumn leave*. IIh* artist decided to take some leaves home and use them as a setting for this tiny playful sprite. The fairy was carefully drawn, hut the handling of paint has keen kept light and loose, giving a feeling of movement and excitement. The central leaf ha* a greater depth of color and detail than the »urrounding ones, drawing the eye to it as well as the fairy suspended beneath it.
Stvdy for a Pixie * Julie Baroii (left)
Two very different fairies come face to face here, illustrating the range of sizes and characteristics found in the fairy world. A Pixie Older consoles the Littlest Pixie after she runs away. It was initially intended for the artist to m-ork out the way the Pixie Elder mould look, hut the correct use of color and a well-balanced composition makes it come out rather well on its own.
Phoenix * Linda Ravf.xscroft (left)
As legend tclU us, the fabulous phoenix is rehorn from the ashes oi iti own funeral pyre. The artist has created a feeling of upward-thrusting, blazing movement through the use of sweeping curves and greater concentration on detail in the top third of the picture. I he figure was drawn in inb before the watercolor was appl ied, after which tk- Ai n and upper section of the figure were protected with mashing film while the rest of the image was painted over with acrylic mixed with gel rctarder, stippling for texture. In the final stages, more detail mas added with watercolor and int.
Brianne * Meredith Dillman («hove)
Initially stetched in pencil, the detailed drawing of Brianne m-as finished with pen ink*, subtle painting in muted colors mas then begun in watercolor using m-et paint on a dry ground, reierving the white of the paper for the paler areas. When this stage was finished, final highlights and details were added with white gouache. I he trees were softly colored to provide a suitable setting for the fairy queen and her butterfly friends.
melissa VaLDEZ (above) The artist was inspired by her love of music to create a dancing fairy, with large wing« litre yards of silk that sway behind her. fhe fairy was sketched first, after which clear water was painted directly onto the paper and color added, guided into place mith a fine brush and encouraged to merge on the paper to form new shades. This wet-into-wet layer (see patfe 18) was then allowed to dry and the painting m-as continued wet on dry in a succession of layers.
The Rainbow Fairy * James Browne (opposite) Rainbows, seemingly magical in themselves, are often associated with fairies. One of the entrances to fairyland lies over the rainbow bridge, guarded by the iridescent Rainbow Fairy, who is the subject of this painting. Her fine flying hair and wispy wings give the impression of airiness, while the blues and grays of the sky suggest the mixture of rain and sunshine required to form the rainbow. The figure was drawn in waterproof sepia ink and the background was achieved with wet-into-wet washes, with the lighter areas around the figure lift«] out wbile ll.o paint was still wet.
Mab * Kim Turner (above)
This softly luminous work, reminiscent of the Pre-Raphaelite painters, was created with layers of watercolor and colored pencils. Mab is the queen of the fairy court near Shakespeare's birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon in central England. Shakespeare said that Mab delivered men of their innermost wishes in the form of dreams, and that when she roves through lovers' brains they dream of love; when she passes over courtiers' knees they dream of courtesies; when she passes over lawyers' fingers they dream of fees; and when she passes over the lips of ladies they dream of kisses.
Oxygen * Linda Ravenscroft
(dU-vc) TKc inspiration for tin* picture sprang from the artist's concerns about air pollution. anJ .LJcciJcJ to produce an image that celebrates fresh air and suggest* how precious it is. The beautiful creatures shown are sylphs, who live entirely in element of air. TKc painting has been given additional impact by doubling the image, with two sylphs placed back to bach.
though there are subtle difference» between the two halve», such as the position of the butterflies and the coloring of the leaves and flowers.
Fairy Moon * Jkssica GalbriiTh
(left) The bright nights of the full moon are a favorite time for fairie*. and it is on such nights that thev are most often seen dancing in shadv forest glades. The artist lias used strong tonal contrasts and a limited palette of cool colors to suggest the moonlight that bathes the figure of this élégant and pensive fairy. ihe crystallized texture oflheUI* round was produced by laying wet wa»he* of j blues and purples and then scattering in substantial quantities of sait. «fclUil uted washes of blue were used for the fairy s dress and win£s. and final highlights were added with white gouache.
Airdance * Bricid Asiiwood
(below) I Ik* wnw of movement in this painting is emphasized by those elements of the picture th.it seem to he flying out of the frame. These include the butterfly in the top left-hand corner, the dragonfly below it, and the leaves in the bottom left-hand corner. The sylph herself reaches forward and looks like she is about to rapidly fly away from us. Additional interest is crea ted by decoratively fragmenting the frame.
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