15 April 2011

A Rough Red Dragon and Sketchy Phoenix

"Chinese" Dragon Sketch
Laura Dyer asked me to make painting for her son Oliver. After much consultation, Oliver decided he wanted a "Red Chinese dragon with gold pointy scales with a long tail and a phoenix flying above the dragon." Laura added that "Asian influences in style are welcome."

To start, I did a few very quick drawings with sumi ink on paper to get a feel for this. The dragon is fun to make. I have a strong sense of what it should be. The long, winding, snake-like Chinese dragons are physically ambiguous and expressive. I particularly love the forlorn eyes that usually have. I looked at several Chinese Dragon ink drawings and pieced together a few my own.

Phoenix Spitting Fire
The Phoenix is less obvious to me. I know it needs to be a bird rising from the ashes of a burned kingdom with flames shooting from it. BUT I think the drawings I made are a little too sparrow-like. For the painting I'll have to go more bad-ass. I think a Phoenix is supposed to be more like an eagle (not like a bird you throw pieces of scone to at a sidewalk cafe. Right?) However, the Chinese Phoenix looks more like a chicken.
Most importantly, I haven't yet figured out a composition for this painting. I've just worked on the two figures separately. Even though Oliver, like many young boys, may not be very concerned about composition, he'll know if it's off. It's a gut thing, just makes you feel weird when it's not right.

Rough Dragon, not very defined or graceful, but the lines ar.e working.

I'll dive in and make the painting this coming week. 
Laura and Oliver, feel free to send me any comments you have. Don't worry, I cannot be offended. I've heard it all.

Check back... I'll post the final painting very soon!


Laura said...

Oh I love these! Oliver will be able to weigh in on Sunday evening, but for now let me say you're on point that the phoenix is much more badass than the dragon. The complexity is that it appears opposite physically no matter what, which is why this has to be a painting and not a photograph. Love truly conquers all is the meaning. LD

Laura said...

Oliver: I like the dragon but leave out the flaming fin. Instead please put in a really pointy tail with a little flame coming out. The phoenix should be most like a hawk, if possible. The dragon is not battling the phoenix. The phoenix is just flying above the dragon, not confronting it.

I hope these comments reach you in time, John! LD

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