Major Project · Semester Two

Environment Painting Tests

In preparation for the interview to be edited, the options for exploration in environment design were severely limited. The scenes for the animated documentary would only be confirmed once the audio is craftily pieced together into a shorter duration, so the ability to create concept art that was location specific was delayed.

However, rather than waiting for confirmation, I decided to conduct some painting tests by referencing stills from footage that Jess and Ryan had captured from their visit to Newcastle. They had spent the day visiting key areas in the area before traveling to Attracta’s home in order to conduct the interview.

(1.1 Shown Above – The painting studies in comparison to the actual photograph)

Shown above is the comparison of the painted pieces, and the photographs that they were referenced from – each with a different colour approach. It was my first time painting lineless concepts without them looking terrible – unlike any previous attempts at the technique had gone. Whilst I was unable to achieve an entirely true replica of the photographs, I am still delighted with the results and believe that I have been able to achieve some interesting light and tonal work by referring the values of the sources.


(1.2 Shown Above – The rockpool featured on Newcastle Beach) 

Ryan and Jess had gathered an interesting range of footage from their time visiting Attracta. The pair managed to encapsulate the essence of what makes Newcastle an attractive seaside resort – with a beach to one side of the town, and a fantastic forest-covered mountain backdrop to the other side of the village, it is a marvel to Northern Irish tourism.

That unique locational appeal is the influence as to why I chose to focus on the two extremes of geographical terrain for the paint studies. In figure two the reference was on the rocky elements of Newcastle beach, chosen for the fascinating tones that were the result of casting shadows on the textured surface, and the way that the light bounced on the reflective surface of the water, causing anything that was covered in the liquid to sparkle under the sun’s reflective rays.

The painting took just over twenty-four hours to complete. The process was slow as it was an opportunity for me to try out a different approach to digital painting – I focused on creating the flat local colours at first, and then built from that to incorporate the light and shadows to give the piece depth. The greatest challenge for this piece was creating the water – reflective material is frustrating to replicate, and although I was able to achieve the illusion of shallow water and motion of running water, the impact of light on liquid will require work in future.


(1.3 Shown Above – The river featured in Tollymore Forest Park) 

The second painting was inspired by a river area of Tollymore Forest Park. The location featured a lot of foliage hovering over the water – creating the sense of a secluded den. Rather than creating a sense of isolation, I got the impression of serenity and comfort from reviewing the piece – that is why I chose to replicate the image. I wanted to evoke the same sense of tranquillity, giving the viewer the impression that they have stumbled upon a quiet spot with the only other sense of presence is the gentle trickle of the water on the rocks as it is carried downstream.

The colour approach for this piece was slightly different to the previous painting test, and it took nearly three days until I achieved an outcome that I was content with. The beginning stages of both pieces began with the initial sketch outlines, which was then overlayed with local colours. The difference was during the shading and lighting stages, which is when I chose to implement a stylised approach by doing block areas at a time with the use of the lasso tool.

The resulting finish does not have as much defined edges and shapes as the other piece had, and some of the areas are patchy in terms of polished render – other areas look a lot less finished, despite the fact that an equal amount of time was spent on each area. Unfortunately, I feel that the outcome is a result of my unrefined skills rather than the technique itself, however, that cannot be confirmed until I have the ability to try out the approach at a later stage.

The task was an interesting way to spend my time productively – I feel that the team may benefit from the visual cues that I have created, and that through creating the pieces I have gained an opportunity to demonstrate the skill increase in my digital painting abilities. The outcome is still a way off from what I had visualised, but when I compare it to previous work from first, second and even placement year, I can see a vast improvement.

One element that I have noticed is that through the process, I have deviated from Walter Peregoy’s illustrative style and instead have implemented some of the aesthetic appeal that would be more suited to Mikael Gustafsson or Loish. However, the reason that the art team felt that their work was important to include was due to the way that they were able to create a strong sense of tone and atmosphere through their work. In that respect, I feel that perhaps it was not too much of a diviation than first thought –  it is my belief that I have managed to encapsulate those elements in some form within my work. Although the outcome is not as successful as these practiced artists can achieve, the result of my work is not too far removed as an imitation of their techniques and abilities.

With continued practice – both in colouring and through observational drawing – I believe that an individual style will become apparent. However, for the purpose of the project it is for the best that I avoid letting this occur too pronouncedly, as the team are quite happy replicating a style that is heavily influenced by Walter Peregoy. It would be my belief that my work would feel better suited to the project if I were to investigate his pieces and examine his techniques in greater detail, so that I have an understanding of his approach, and the decisions that influenced his methods. This would be an area that I could explore through further research potentials, as the benefits of doing can be predicted to achieving our aesthetic visual style.


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