Alaskan Night

Baby, it’s flippin’ cold outside.

Which somewhat justifies the pounds I’ve put on since Thanksgiving.  Thank you, Mother Nature, for giving me an excuse for my hedonistic eating habits.

The other wonderful thing about the weather this time of year, in Northern climes, at least, is the clearness and (occasional) stillness of the air.  Having grown up in northern Minnesota, it’s what we Iron-Rangers associate with the holidays.

And with Alaska.

I’ve never been there, but one makes assumptions.  So when I created a piece that seemed to embody a crisp, gorgeous night in the mountains, Alaska is what sprang to mind.

Alaskan Night

The picture was really even meant as a picture.  It started out as the third in a series of color samples I’ve started.  The idea is to collect examples of various color combinations that are particularly striking.  The majority of them so far have come from spots in the New Yorker.

This mountainous scene was actually a photograph in an Olympus ad.

I’ve taken to reading the prestigious (and often self-important) magazine while using the elliptical machine at the gym.  Most of the magazines there are geared toward women, so it’s been my habit to bring a book.  Finding myself without a novel, however, one day, I resorted to rooting through the periodicals selection, and finding this arts-and-culture rag.

What struck me about it was the color of the sky.

The version above was built through a few layers of straightforward drawing – a separate photoshop layer per color block: brown, light verdigris, and the deep dark aqua.

The texture was created using an ‘oil pastel’ brush setting.  This was used to add a lighter and darker brown to the sky and the lightest gray-green in the mountains. The halo was done using a lighter brown and applied with the gradient tool behind the peaks.  The stars are simply dots made with a fade-out brush.  The color has just a hint of yellow in the white, since true white looked too dead.

That’s about it.  The whole idea was to capture a color palette that I could reference in another drawing, so you may see this scheme resurrected down the road.  Who knows?

This entry was published on December 23, 2013 at 7:48 pm. It’s filed under Bold Color, Digital Drawing, Seasons, Style, The Artistic Process and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

One thought on “Alaskan Night

  1. I love winter nights–the cloudless skies and the sea of stars take my breath away. I love the simplicity of this painting, Gabriel, and the feeling it invokes. Beautiful.

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