A digital painting of two candles alight in darkness
Digital Painting

Candles alight in the dark

I’m finding painting a light source helps quite a bit in reasoning about light and shadow. I also made a point to switch between a soft brush and a hard brush this time (both brushes with opacity set to change with pen pressure). I’m especially happy with how the candle on the right turned out, perhaps because I painted the whole candle, rather then letting it fade out.

The orange candle on the right suffered from my staying too zoomed while painting. The flame could have been better smoothed out. These were both done as photo studies from two Pexels photos (sources: left candle, right candle).

A digital painting of two candles alight in darkness

I painted these while watching The Alienist on HBO Max. It’s…ah… well, I chose it on a whim from the main HBO screen, so I didn’t have any expectations, but I wasn’t thinking it would be quite so gory, considering it originally aired on TNT. Then again, I haven’t had cable for the last 10 years, so maybe standards have changed? I think Dakota Fanning is a great actress (Push is one of my favorite movies), so I thought I’d give the show a chance. Plus I do like detective stories. It worked as a distraction, so meh? I used to watch a lot of Law and Order on TNT back in college – it was the kind of show you could only half pay attention to and still figure out what was going on.

It still seems weird that my main “how to get myself to practice art” life hack is to just distract my brain with a movie or TV show. I feel like it’s a bad habit rather than a good thing, to be half distracted with drawing or painting, but it seriously helps me so much. Otherwise I take myself too seriously and I’m too much of a perfectionist, so my inner critical monologue goes off and shuts down any willpower to make art.

For tonight, I was really hoping to paint like 4 or 5 candles – I’d picked out enough photos I liked to study. Alas, it’s already 10:30. We did wash dishes earlier this evening, so I don’t have to rush off quite yet, but I’m sleepy. Tomorrow I’m really hoping to draw in my sketchbook and digital paint, but we shall see. I also need to prepare for DMing another D&D game on Saturday.

‘Til next time.

Listening to: Gravity of Love, Enigma
Current mood: tired

I'm an illustrator and web developer honing my skills and learning all I can about drawing, painting, and storytelling through visual art.