from the jazz age to the space age

Tag Archives: mythology

sirin72

Sirin
9″x12″
gouache, acrylic, and pencil on 185 lb paper

I love Russian fairytales, folktales, and Slavic mythology. The Russian Sirin is thought to be a descendant of the Greek Sirin. Said to reside near the Garden of Eden, they sang beautiful songs of joy. Some stories tell that only truly happy people could hear the Sirin.
The Sirin often has two similar companions; the Alkonost, who sang sorrowful songs that inspired forgetfulness and oblivion in the listener, and the Gamayun, who sang songs of knowledge. All three birds were considered prophetic.

In line with my New Year’s resolution, I had planned on putting her up for sale, so that she could sing joyful songs to whoever wanted her. I even asked around to figure out a good formula for pricing my work. The “by the hour” doesn’t work for me. My work is too detailed. I ended up going with the “linear inch” model, which multiplied by our minimum wage gave me a fair price, at least fair in my mind. So, 9 + 12 = 21 x $12.00 = $252. But my husband ended up asking me to please not sell her. He’s grown quite attached to her, which is unusual for him. So, she’s staying here.

Screen shot 2016-01-10 at 1.22.03 PMA photo of the finished painting. Unfortunately neither the scan above nor the photo capture the creaminess of working with gouache, but I still thinks she’s lovely. If you’re not familiar with gouache, it dries to a matte, suede like finish. Not fuzzy, but incredibly soft looking. It’s quite unlike anything in its strange, subdued beauty. Screen shot 2016-01-10 at 1.17.12 PMTwo of my initial sketches (there were two more that may become different paintings later). I wasn’t sure if I wanted to show her feet as well, but I decided to focus on her face, so I went with the sketch on the right. I took a photo for reference and started drawing.
Screen shot 2016-01-10 at 1.17.30 PMI finished the drawing and transfered it to paper. I use a heavy duty 185 lb Canson paper that’s actually made for acrylics.
Screen shot 2016-01-10 at 1.17.45 PM I love drawing hands.Screen shot 2016-01-10 at 1.18.03 PM And here is the finished drawing on acrylic paper, ready for paint. I left out a lot of the details because I knew they would be filled in later by paint.Screen shot 2016-01-10 at 1.18.21 PM I scanned her in and created a color key. The color key helps me to make sure my colors have some contrast and that I don’t end up with some random color in there which would stick out like a sore thumb. I also created a color map (not shown), which is where I took these colors and rough colored the drawing in photoshop to get an idea of where they would go. In that way I balanced the deep red of her crown with the deep red of her sleeves. Screen shot 2016-01-10 at 1.18.37 PM Screen shot 2016-01-10 at 1.18.48 PM After laying in the background color in gouache, I used burnt sienna acrylic to paint the outlines with a tiny brush.Screen shot 2016-01-10 at 1.19.04 PM Next I did the coloring book colors. This part is always very hard for me because it looks like such a disaster. Screen shot 2016-01-10 at 1.19.22 PM I felt much better once I had a chance to work on the background.Screen shot 2016-01-10 at 1.19.59 PM The long process of creating the wings starts.Screen shot 2016-01-10 at 1.20.11 PM I was inspired by iridescent raven feathers to use green to contrast with the red-orange.Screen shot 2016-01-10 at 1.20.25 PMSirins typically have bird bodies, but I wanted it to blur the line between whether she’s wearing a dress or whether those are her feathers growing out of her body.
Screen shot 2016-01-10 at 1.20.49 PM Hanging out with Van Eyck’s Mary for inspiration. Screen shot 2016-01-10 at 1.21.02 PMMy photo reference is up so I can get the pink on her hands right.
Screen shot 2016-01-10 at 1.21.33 PM I added gold paint to a few places.Screen shot 2016-01-10 at 1.21.47 PM And some gold on her sunflower.Screen shot 2016-01-10 at 1.22.03 PMFin~