Wa­ter­colour art

Omar Rayyan pays spe­cial at­ten­tion to colour, light­ing and com­po­si­tion, and takes in­spi­ra­tion from past pain­ters for his fun fan­tasy scene

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Contents - Omar is a pain­ter based in Martha’s Vine­yard, Mas­sachusetts. He paints fan­tasy and fairy­tale im­ages – mainly in wa­ter colour, and of­ten with an­i­mal char­ac­ters be­hav­ing like peo­ple. www.stu­dio­rayyan.com

Omar Rayyan paints a fer­ret!

For this work­shop, I’ll be paint­ing a fer­ret with a flagon. The com­po­si­tion will have an out­doors set­ting with an early Euro­pean feel. The chal­lenges will be to ren­der fur, ar­mour, wet wood, ce­ramic, glass, and brick, all in a jolly out­door pub set­ting!

My in­flu­ences on this piece are 15th cen­tury Flem­ish tav­ern paint­ings and 19th cen­tury French master Jean-Louis-Ernest Meis­sonier and in par­tic­u­lar, his paint­ing The Card Play­ers. I of­ten look to the pain­ters of the past for ideas.

I want to paint a happy chap, and be­cause it’ll be a sin­gle char­ac­ter im­age, have him ad­dress­ing the viewer, to share in his hap­pi­ness with his frothy bev­er­age.

That set­tled, the look and anatomy of fer­rets be­gin to dic­tate the de­sign of the piece. Fer­rets are long bod­ied and stubby nosed, with short arms and legs, so it’ll be fun to break up the slinky body with ar­mour and cloth­ing that at the same time show off his long, wig­gly body.

The chal­lenge will be to evoke a tra­di­tional drink­ing por­trait, but with fun and whimsy. The at­ti­tude of the drinker is cru­cial, so ini­tially I don’t put much con­sid­er­a­tion into the colour pal­ette, be­cause warm, earth tones should work well. How­ever, as you’ll see, sim­ple earth tones can quickly be­come a dance of bal­anc­ing warms and colds, yel­lows and reds, against blues and cool browns.

The light is an out­door, al fresco at­mos­phere, made pos­si­ble by the gloom of the shad­ows. The light qual­ity will be dic­tated by tex­tures, me­tal, wood, cloth and so on. By ex­plor­ing these qual­i­ties I’ll in­ad­ver­tently be paint­ing the sun­nier side, as shadow de­scribes light.

I also con­sider how the feret sits in the scene. A tall, thin, wig­gly fig­ure will need some kind of sup­port, aside from the ta­ble. Early on in the paint­ing process, the build­ing ar­chi­tec­ture with a win­dow comes in as suit­ably strong ge­om­e­try against which to play the an­i­mal’s drunken move­ment, while the bar­rel acts as a weight and wedge to hold the lower half of the sub­ject in place.

The fun of en­ter­ing a ‘sim­ple’ sin­gle sub­ject is a great op­por­tu­nity to fo­cus on the com­plex power ev­ery seem­ingly sim­ple el­e­ment ex­erts on the whole.

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