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Making of 'Fountain of Hell'

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Date Added: 9th December 2009
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One day I was taking photos around Lisbon, and I came across some beautiful stone statues in the middle of lakes set in some of the city's most beautiful parks. Later, I came across another fountain in a square, which had three of those classic angel-like figures standing below. Taking this photo as reference, setting it in the mood I had witnessed before at the park and adding a malevolent twist I decided to make the painting entitled "Fountain of Hell".

I opened up a new canvas in Adobe Photoshop with the A4 preset dimension. Using the photo (Fig.01) as reference, I quickly painted the whole canvas with a medium grey hard-edged brush, trying not to leave any white areas beneath (Fig.02). This step helps getting an overall balance of value in the painting. It's important to get a hint of all the elements into the canvas early in the painting process, so that they can then be continually refined simultaneously and in relation to each other.

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Fig. 01

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Fig. 02


I aimed for a reddish colour-scheme with small deviations to yellow in the lighter areas and purple in the shadows. To achieve this, I painted in the colours on a new layer set to "Color" mode, retaining all the value information below (Fig.03). I picked out some of the main hues and made a small colour palette directly in the canvas. This helps me in maintaining colour harmony by always colour-picking from the same source. This is important in the early stages, but later on all the colours can be picked up from any part of the painted image. I then started detailing the foremost figure so I could get an early idea of what the painting process on the other two figures was going to be. I mainly used hard-edged brushes for the initial block-in and then I continuously decreased the brush's hardness, size and opacity. This can be a slow process and should be done patiently. Most of the times I have to do several painting "passages" to get to the point where I am satisfied, especially with smooth textures.

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Fig. 03

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