Mermay 2019 redo


  • SVS OG

    Here it is! (I’ll put my Instagram caption under it, but it’s long so don’t feel like you have to read it all.) What do you think? Did I actually accomplish fixing it According to the critiques? Or did I just change it? @Lee-White
    Also, One of the challenges that always comes up for me is that, because I work traditionally using watercolor and colored pencils, I feel like I always max out how many layers my paper can hold and just barely finish things. My paintings always look messier and heavier to me than I want them too. I look at other watercolor artists and I feel like they get depth and a finished look without so much medium on the paper? How? Any tips on this would be appreciated. The only thing I can think of is to just plan better.

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    From Instagram- Long post ahead- Finally finished something that has been on my list for A YEAR!!! Yay! 😆
    Flashback to Mermay 2019. My online art school @svslearn hosted a special Mermay competition with guest judge @tombancroft1, & I somehow ended up being 1 of 2 winners. One of the amazing things we won (which I’ve had lots of great teaching moments explaining to my kids how this is a “prize”) was a critique of our pieces by Mr. Bancroft & @leewhiteillo .
    I have been itching to repaint this ever since. (Swipe for original.) I didn’t change the composition or story, because that’s what they loved about it. But, probably the biggest thing they told me was that, stylistically, my characters didn’t match their environment. Lightbulb!💡 Something had been bugging me about the original & I couldn’t figure it out. I just needed some professional eyes on it. I made some tweaks to both the environment and the characters, but I mostly reworked the trees. I like drawing slightly more realistic, so it made sense to move away from the flatter style. They also suggested I push the darks of the foreground & make the background a bit murkier. I tried to do a foggy layered swampy look and I’m not sure if it’s “murkier” but I do like how it turned out. The most shocking thing to me was when someone in the class asked how we even know these are mermaids?! The lack of tails made it questionable, which made me immediately feel horrible for winning a “Mermay” competion with my “possibly not mermaids” green water people. 😳😖I did paint them to be mermaids, but I guess without the context of other pictures or some text, people couldn’t see it. So, I put in a tail!! And, if you look closely, the mermaids hand is much less human and more fishy.
    Lee also mentioned he was curious about the magic in this. I was imagining the mermaids had a kind of symbiotic relationship with the mangroves they live in. They have a very sheltered habitat and a need for secrecy. The trees give them that. They also keep the water clean and provide homes to all kinds of critters and, in exchange, the mermaids heal what’s been broken or hurt. There you have it! I hope I leveled it up a notch.



  • I love your use of colors! From what I remember of the critique, it looks like you've hit on most (if not all) the points. I also like how your character in the corner looks in this version.
    P.S. Belated congratulates for your contest win! Keep up the good work!


  • SVS Team SVS OG

    @Pamela-Fraley I think this piece looks amazing!


  • SVS OG

    @Chip-Valecek thanks Chip!


  • SVS OG

    @miranda-hoover thank you! I’m still struggling to see if I “fixed” it enough. I think it’s a little closer to what I was picturing in my head at least. That’s the biggest gap I want to close. I have a very vivid imagination and I just can’t ever seem to capture them the way they appear in my head. But, I’m getting closer.


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