Friday, December 26, 2014

Alabama Flying Machine

When you were a kid, did you ever try to build a flying machine? 
Did you want to? 

Almost everyone I know has a story that involves falling from a tree, tall rock or rooftop during a failed flying experiment... But what if it had worked? If it had happened in Alabama, I suspect it would have looked something like this: 
"Alabama Flying Machine" 15x22, Watercolor on 140 lb. Arches
Remember James and the Giant Peach? Roald Dahl describes the characters being carried through the sky by birds as the glow worm provides light. If  Roald Dahl had grown up in the Deep South, the birds would have been june bugs and the glow worm would have been fireflies in a Mason jar. Oops, I mean "lightning bugs." Oh, and the travelers would never leave the ground without the supplies to make sweet, iced tea to celebrate a successful flight.

Here is the process for creating "Alabama Flying Machine."

First, I organize my ideas with quick sketches in my sketchbook. 

Now I draw my design on some 140 lb. Arches watercolor paper. I actually want some of these pencil lines to show, so I don't bother to draw lightly. 

This is different from my other watercolor paintings. This time, I only want to pour the background. I mask out the bugs and the flying machine and pour the paint.

After removing the drawing gum, I'm ready to use paints and watercolor pencils to fill in the images. 

Painting the june bugs is my favorite part. I have lots of childhood memories involving these critters.

I continue to add details...

And now I'm ready to fly! 

The original of this painting is currently available for sale. Contact me at to discuss your purchase or order this image on laptop skins, shirts, travel mugs, totes or phone cases from Redbubble


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