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  • Writer's pictureAlan Hawkins

Studio update: April 2022

I've just completed my first painting for the year, and my first one in over six months. It was a fairly spontaneous, straight to paper project. No preliminary sketches, other than a firm idea in my mind of what I wanted to create. What I visualised was a complex yellow and black spacecraft with a rider of the same colour scheme, almost camouflaged against the vehicle they're driving. The background was to be my usual desert surrounded by clouds, painted with a deep red-ish purple that gave a nice contrast to the crispness of the yellow and black.

I originally gave the rider some vague facial features, but was unhappy with how it looked. So I removed it with water, and ended up really liking the way it looked afterwards. This was a happy accident that typified the loose approach I took with this illustration. For example, I had originally drawn a much more complicated looking underbelly of the spacecraft, but once it came time to paint it, I realised less was more and that it was fighting against the rest of the picture. I altered it to give it a more rounded, simplified lower section.

As I started painting the background, I decided to incorporate the bright orange glow from this spacecraft's rocket into the surrounding clouds, this then spread down to the dunes below. This wasn't planned that way, but felt good as an on-the-fly decision. I try to not have too much of a preconceived idea about how the finished painting will look, as it never works out exactly as I envision, and more often than not I'm happy with these spontaneous decisions.

This illustration was a great warm-up after a break from picking up the brush. Maybe not all the elements hold together perfectly, but there's definitely a bolder approach to colour here that I'm looking forward to developing with future paintings.

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