Halloween.... going bats again!

Halloween.... going bats again!


Halloween is nearly upon us, time to carve those pumpkins and bob those apples. It is unseasonably warm here in Devon, but the trees are looking lovely.



I am constantly looking at the changing colours and moods, thinking, could I paint that ? How would I paint that? Once you start on this painting journey your visual world grows, the world becomes more vibrant and exciting. Each painting pushes you on to do better next time.....if it grips you, you become a bit obsessed.

This tree I spied as I drove through Mid Devon



So lovely ...now what could I do with that?

Then home again to help with pumpkin carving, my daughter loves Halloween, and now she is 16 she is getting to scare me quite a lot too! Last night was a party she dressed up and went off with her friends....But we love to carve pumpkins and decorate the house.



So with that in mind I though I would go all batty and show you how to paint a bat. This was also requested a while ago by a radiographer friend of mine, Bats are incredible creatures and have led us to remarkable technological breakthroughs. I have a lot to be grateful to radiographers for so this one is for them x

First find a bat image, I like to have them in full flight so I can capture their wings too.



As with all paintings , we are now in the planning stage, so you need to have a plan, but at the same time be prepared to be flexible, ( gosh i sound like a politician !) 

So I decide I need to use masking fluid on the 'ribs' of the wings.



Leave it to dry, to test if it is dry lightly touch it with your finger



And if none comes off on your finger you are good to go.



Now I am going to start on the face of the bat. I start with the tiny eyes.



Then I begin to fill in the face and body. I am letting colours run into each other and carefully seeing which colours are there, starting at the top and working my way down.



My brushes are small, and I am looking all the time at the details but trying to do it all in one go .



Moving down to his rounded body, dropping shading in as I go, trust what you are doing, and see what emerges, Remember it is only water, paper and paint.



If you can do this wet in wet, then the body will look soft and furry .

Now we can move onto the 'arms' ( as you can see I am no bat expert! )

These are reddish in colour with yellow highlights.



He's beginning to take shape.

Now for the fun bit... the wings!!!



Now this might seem mad. But I paint the lightest colour first either yellow or blue or a mixture of both. Then while it is wet I add Paynes Grey in the shaped that the wings make, leaving bits of the under colour to shine through.


Have fun and keep going....

There the whole of the wings are done

Now to pop in a background...or to not pop in a background that is the question .Well it's Halloween...why not!

i go to my favourite night time colour Indigo




Be gestural, slosh the paint around, then sprinkle with salt and add some cling film. And leave it to dry




Ah.... the witching hour approaches.....



I left him all alone in the dark to see what magic would occur.......seriously it is advisable to leave the cling film a good long while, over night is perfect,



Here you can see the patterns that emerge. Now all that is left is to remove the masking fluid and paint in the remaining ribs....he is done!!!




Now this was my bat, and as with lots of Halloween movies he has been reimagined again this year


Watercolours are notoriously hard to change, but I have my ways...

Firstly I looked at what I wanted to change.

I smudged and sprayed the edges.

Be careful, but water is your friend here. 

I also added to some of the finer details on his face and removed some blue paint from behind his ears, using a magic sponge.

Boy it looks a mess but be brave.

I played around and added and took away, until, to my eye he looked more dynamic.

I also added a white acrylic moon, well it is Halloween ( nearly ) 


And so I took my bat from this to this


 Then to this and finally...

To this...I darkened up some areas and lightened up others....



Have a go with a painting that you feel you can afford to lose, as believe me this can often go very wrong.


Happy Halloween x

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