Alice’s Picnic in Wonderland painting completed

(Update 01-04-10: I changed this painting, and switched the pictures here to the new version. See the Alice in Wonderland category for posts about the changes.)

I finished my Alice in Wonderland painting. It’s called Alice’s Picnic in Wonderland and is 11×14 inches, oil on canvas. This will be at the Alice in Wonkaland show at Muddy Waters in Santa Barbara in July.

Here’s the finished painting:

Alice's Picnic in Wonderland

Alice's Picnic in Wonderland

I made extra sure I was happy with the drawing before transferring it to the canvas, so once I started painting it went very smoothly. Almost every painting session was very good and the whole thing overall was very satisfying. The hedge maze took a lot of time to draw, but once it had been planned out it was pretty simple to paint. If you look close you can see she is wearing a little scarab cameo…I felt the need to put something Egyptian in there. I like the contrast of the grinning Cheshire cat (which is totally based on John Tenniel’s famous illustrations) with Alice’s somber expression. I wanted this to be a little dark without doing the whole overdone Gothic Alice thing (which I am waaay sick of).

Here’s a detail view:

Alice's Picnic in Wonderland (detail)

Alice's Picnic in Wonderland (detail)

The main thing I would have done differently is use a good reference for the face, which wasn’t  based on anyone specific. The face is small, like an inch high, so tiny brushstrokes yielded big changes…it was pretty tough. Since it’s on canvas the texture also makes the painting look a little different depending on what angle you look at it, etc, so there was a ton of stepping back, looking in other light, upside down, and the like. Well, I do a lot of that normally anyway. I did use an old vintage photo for the general figure reference but changed the dress, face, head shape, hair, etc. I didn’t use a grid or anything, I have been doing a grid when I am studying a master work and trying to copy it almost exactly but whenever possible I’m working on my drawing skillz without a grid.

My palette for this was something along the lines of mars black, titanium white, yellow ochre, cadmium yellow light hue, vermillion hue, burnt umber, raw umber, burnt sienna, french ultramarine, and phthalo blue. The greens are mostly black + cadmium yellow light with some earth tones and yellow ochre. These are all pretty much the standard colors I use lately, except I am going to switch to cadmium red hue since it looks very similar to the vermillion but does not contain lead. I use that in the flesh tones: yellow ochre + red + white + burnt umber in darker areas. I hear that using a complementary color in the shadows is supposed to be nice but so far it hasn’t worked out too well for me  🙂

This painting was pretty much “direct”…I did not do a monochromatic underpainting for the flesh tones, like I normally do when painting on panel for portrait stuff (this is on canvas).

I spent about 6 hours over 2 weeks drawing this, and then about 16 hours painting it. That is about half the time my last two paintings took, this was a quick one since everything just fell into place, mostly. I started it in early May and finished in late June.

For other posts about Alice and my other Wonderland-related paintings, see the Alice in Wonderland category.

2 Responses to “Alice’s Picnic in Wonderland painting completed”

  1. Alexis Wingate Says:

    Airn, I adore all things “Alice”. So, naturally, I adore your “Alice’s Picnic in Wonderland” painting. It’s so original and unlike any contemporary artwork I’ve seen on the Alice-in-Wonderland theme. That’s an amazing Cheshire cat, by the way! I’m looking forward to seeing more of your art in the future.


  2. Airn Says:

    Neat, thank you!

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