Painter of the mystical, otherworldly, sensual, and whimsical.

I'm a painter living and working in the beautiful finger-lakes region of Western New York State. I am also an avid gardener and nature lover, so the lush green rolling hills, gentle streams, and majestic lakes that surround my home in this world often appear in the fantasy worlds of my paintings.

Many of the pieces draw inspiration from folk tales, myths and legends. These "teaching tales" were what drew us together around our hearth-fires for centuries, and I believe those stories still carry power.

I enjoy looking at these ancient tales, through my eyes, and painting what I see, no matter if it's beautiful or disturbing. But what's more fun is when others can see those same paintings and find something within of value that speaks to their soul directly. I do not plan for this, but am honored when it happens, and, oh, yes, do love hearing about it every time that it happens. It reminds me that maybe we are not so different after all.

Glad to meet you, and please enjoy the paintings!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Autumn Fairy: Sixth Stage Paint

Above: Autumn Fairy, Work in progress: Sixth Stage Paint

Sixth layer paint. Introduced vermilion for the warm reds and oranges, while further defining and refining the details. With the exception of the preliminary pencil sketch everything up to this point has been created using thin layers of watercolor only. No ink or opaque pigment has been added yet.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Autumn Fairy - Fifth Stage Paint

Above: "Autumn Fairy - Fifth Stage Paint." by Portia St. Luke

Here, I'm adding ultramarine blue to the shadows. In the places where it's being painted over existing dark brown (burnt umber) it will look black, but combining ultramarine and burnt umber creates a much richer black with more subtlety. Even when mixed on the palette the "black" that results is much truer to nature than straight-out-of-the-tube "ivory black" or "bone black." The artist can control the mix and create a warmer or cooler black by using more of one pigment than the other.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Work in progress: Autumn Fairy

Cross-posting this for anybody who has not yet visited the Portia St Luke Illustrations Facebook site. I've created a folder of images showing the progress of my new fantasy piece, "Autumn Fairy." Scanning this piece each day means my friends and fans can watch as the piece develops. If you visit the page, click "like" in order to receive updates showing each day's new scan. 

First layer paint: The preliminary graphite pencil sketch is covered in a simple wash of color. I choose a light tint of something that I know will carry well throughout the rest of the piece. 

Second layer paint: The light yellow wash is worked in a monochrome "griselle." This was a common technique of the renaissance masters. Earth tone pigments were, and are, usually less expensive than the bright mineral-pigments used to create the brighter colors. A monotone griselle was a way to define form, highlight, and shadow without dipping into the bright colors. The "griselle" could be worked in deep greens, dark browns, or even true gray (as the name suggests.) I used burnt sienna, since it complements the overall "autumn" theme of the piece.

Third layer paint: The monochrome "griselle" gets the beginnings of color. I started with a very light wash of sap green for the vegetation and light washes of violet to darken and further define the shadows.

Fourth layer paint: Continuing to work in burnt sienna, sap green and violet, darkening and further defining the form and shadows. At this point, I begin working burnt umber with a very fine brush into the details that will be the darkest. True black, like true white, occurs in the natural world only rarely, so these pigments will be added only at the very end.

All images c. Portia St. Luke 2012



Tuesday, October 2, 2012

“And above all, watch with glittering eyes, the whole world around you,

because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.”
by Roald Dahl

Above: "Satyress." Mixrd media on Bristol. c. Portia St. Luke 2012