Layers give you options, all kinds of options.
Layers allow you to experiment, paint without worrying you will ruin something as you work. It also gives you the ability to get unique results as you play with color texture and different blend modes.
Blend modes each do a different effect, some subtle some stronger, but as they layer on top of one another you have the ability to achieve something unique that you didn’t expect. You will only discover this by playing and layering and experimenting.
Don’t limit your possibilities by worrying or hiding behind the fears that come along with creating. Embrace them, play with them and discover a world of things inside you.
The photo above shows just the first part of building the bottle.
Base color and then adding different layers of colors and textures and setting it on different layer modes.
Stacking layer modes gave this a glow effect that I felt really worked with the overall look of what I was trying to achieve. This is just the base, other layers were added on top to finish the look of the bottle. I may have used quite a few layers but thats what they are there for. Sometimes a layer does not have much on it, but the small way it affected the piece was necessary. It’s a building block!
The background in this piece was also built in layers. Layers can be confusing for some, but once you get used to using them there are so many ways to compose and paint your image that you will get lost in the possibilities.
For me the process isnt just about painting the bottle or the octopus its about bringing it together as a whole. That means developing each part of the painting so that they all work together and compliment each other.
Composition matters in the sense that it should all work as a whole. You notice that I bring the texture to the background that works but doesn’t compete with the focus of the piece. Color is also used to bring continuity to the whole of the painting by using what is in the main image of the painting and bringing it to the background as well.
Here is another example of the beginnings of where this piece started. It was originally a bottle shape that evolved into a portal. Layers build up texture and the base upon which the piece is built. There are many ways to bring in texture and create a mood in your work. What you see is just the beginning.
Sometimes a color layer is necessary to tone a piece at a particular stage and then I keep building other layers on top of that. The color layer has its blend mode and opacity adjusted to suit the effect I need to build on the finishing touches.
By layering I have choices and can play to see what settings and modes work to achieve the look I desire without worry. If I don’t like what I see I can just delete the layer, try other settings or simply turn the layer off if I think it may work later on in the piece.
There are times where I can literally use all available layers in a piece. Why not, why should I limit myself?
I make my own brushes
Why do I make my own brushes? Well, mostly because it’s fun and I love exploring things! It also gives me unique tools to use in my art and who doesn’t want that?
I have created many different textured brushes to help me achieve the look that you see in many of my paintings.
I also explored and played around with brushes and settings to push texture as much as I can. While each brush by itself may not have a finished look that can stand on its own, together layered with each other they create interesting looks and mood in my art.
I am also a what if person! What if I try this weird image to create a texture? Sometimes it works, sometimes it makes something truly interesting and other times it’s trash it and start over. And starting over is ok too, it’s a learning process.
Fear and art
I see so many people afraid of trying things, afraid they will mess something up, fear they don’t know what to do! These are all valid things every creative person deals with. No matter how may great things I paint, each one starts with, what if I don’t know how to do this, what if I mess up, what if it sucks?
But then there is what if I don’t try? What if I don’t play and learn new things? What if you spend all that time worrying about what can go right instead of what can go wrong?
Digital art has so many unique possibilities that differ from traditional art and I love them both!
The ability to use layers to try new things gives you a safety net that can open up your creative juices in bold new ways.
Jump in and play, without worry or fear of messing something up. The days I thought I messed something up were the ones where I discovered something unique that brought things to life in that piece that were unexpected! If I wasn’t brave or curious enough to just play I would certainly limit myself along the way.
Have fun, use layers, explore and play! Don’t let anyone else tell you what your art should be! There is so much judgement of what is art? But each person has their own opinion of what is art for them, not for me.
I get up everyday to try new things and just have fun, and you should too!