Mermay WIP - attempt with color

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    Here is my work in progress for the Mermay challenge - there is quite a lot of work to be done painting wise i know but my hope for feedback is concerning the story aspect of the painting - the little black and white below is a drawing i did a couple of years ago for Mermay - my thought at the time was that the merman in the image used to be a man... my thought for this month could that situation possibly have come about? The figures are a bit different than the ones in the black and white but that is not important to this new is the story idea that i am trying to get across with this. Are you seeing the story? I feel like it is working? but i have been staring at this for many hours:) Any feedback always very much appreciated!



  • @Kevin-Longueil I love the softness of the finish.

    Here is what I see as the story...

    The man is on the shore and reading and writing poetry to the mermaid. She is listening but is daydreaming about what is being said. Maybe she is not even listening but is thinking about the compass object to the left of the picture. Definitely distracted.

    I am having a hard time understanding her emotion and what the relationship between the two characters.

    I don't know what is up with the flower petals?

    Hope the helps, maybe lets you know where to add detail for the story.

  • This piece is beautiful. The story reads for me that he is performing some sort of magic for her because she is distressed. One thing that does not match the style of the piece his her scales. There is not the same level of texture that is in the rest of your price. It seems hard whereas the rest of it is soft and silky.

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    @Kevin-Longueil Gorgeous piece so far. Love the way you render people. Re: the story, the man is reading a little booklet and holding a feather in one hand, and in the other hand, petals are levitating. He seems to be performing some sort of magic spell, and I assume it's for the benefit of the mermaid, but the purpose is unclear (i.e., she doesn't seem hurt in any way). The man also looks unfazed by the mermaid, which seems surprising, and makes me think that they must know each other fairly well by this point in their story together. Her expression and leaning away from the levitating petals seems apprehensive and slightly afraid. There's also a metal object in the bottom left-hand corner, which resembles a compass--perhaps they're making their way somewhere. Hope these observations help. Excited to see how this piece progresses, and learning more about the story.

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    @theprairiefox Thank you so much for your feedback! It is so helpful - i am really glad the poetry is coming across to you...that was my main concern really. From the feedback here i'm thinking my travelers inkwell really needs to go since it is reading as being important and as a compass. right now it stands out because i created it with the selection tool and ellipses but i'm thinking now that if i soften the edges, highlights and lines it will still not work...maybe a more classic looking inkwell?? - best to be rid of it i think. Listening while daydreaming about what is being said is so on the nose! I am trying to make it feel as though she is unsure of her own feelings too... something i'll need to work on a bit - the petals are a kind of visual manifestation of the words he is saying...also to show magic exists in this world - because how could he become a merman ....My eight year old daughter says she likes the petals because before i put them in it looked like he was reading her a bill and asking for the money! she was so right too
    @chrisaakins Thank you for the feedback Chris! - i will work more on her expression sounds like it needs a bit of an adjustment to get where i want fear is of being too dramatic like a romance novel cover.....Thank you for the feedback on the scales - i have not gotten to them as of yet - i have kind of laid out the location of scales though - a few years back i got feedback from Jake on a mermaid piece that had submitted for third Thursday that i had gone overboard on the scales and needed to knock them back quite a bit..i plan on taking that advice on this and not having them be so well defined - thanks again
    @Johanna-Kim Thank you for the feedback Johanna! - my hope was to convey poetry with the little book and quill pen..."The Wooing of the Salt-marsh Mermaid" maybe? I have gathered by now that the metal object must is an inkwell but is not reading as such - Thank you so much for the compliment of the rendering - it was really helpful to hear - I've been afraid of color for years and decided with this piece that i would not back down from that little voice - i still feel lost ..but less lost than i thought i'd feel at this point 🙂

    Thank you all again - very helpful feedback!

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    Is this story reading better? I feel like i am on a better path with it - after listening to 3point perspective yesterday i thought i would try this as a spot illustration since i have so few on my portfolio site - much to do still - finish her eyes,scales, his hand, floaty things, lighting, flora/fauna in water? - .....better story and possibly composition though?? Any thoughts are very much appreciated


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    @Kevin-Longueil The story I am getting is a love story. He's written poetry or maybe some words expressing his feelings and we're seeing the moment that he is reading it to her. Her body language feels a bit cautious? Perhaps as if she is intrigued, but not quite sure how to take this all in. I'm not sure what the flower petal-like objects are, but they add a very nice color/detail that I like. It balances well with the muted color palette throughout the rest of the piece.

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    @shinjifujioka Thank you Shinji - that is exactly the story 🙂 Great to have you back in the forum!

  • maybe the little bits can be floating more in a stream either towards her or upwards? lovely rendering otherwise. 🙂

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    @MirkaH Thank you for the feedback Mirka! It is very helpful to hear. I will add more floaty bits for sure 🙂

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