This painting, ‘Red Dahlia,’ was largely inspired by my Wiccan belief that despite death and departing, those close to us such as pets and friends still remain in our presence. I used Golden acrylic paints on a large pre-stretched rectangular canvas.
I chose to incorporate red pandas into this painting/sketch since I haven’t painted them much before, and wanted their colorful, stylized fur to complement the sugar skulls and vivid colors.
Fun fact: I used a palette knife to paint the backdrop; its an opaque blend of Golden red cadinum medium & Golden cadinum yellow dark. I chose to smooth out the chunky texture so it wouldn’t take attention away from the cute critters painted later on.
The first layer is always meant to just map out the general spacing and ‘look’ of everything. I don’t usually paint specifics like the eyes or nose at this step.
The next layer resembled Annabelle from The Conjuring verse; so NOT what I had intended. Also, I disliked the color of the mask and the flower arrangements on the wrists.
I adore the colors in this new layer: shades of purple blended with premixed teal and ochre.
Side by side comparison of the near final product. The model is Gia Carangi; Italian girl who was one of the first famous females to die of AIDS (at age 26).
Thanks for viewing. One with the earth, one with the night, one with the day: that is the mages’ way.
~Xi Wen Chen