Archive | January 2013

Monster with background


Fantasy creature with mountain background. Digital painting done with photoshop. Ulla Hennig January 2013

For a long time I had been neglecting the backgrounds in my paintings and drawings. Backgrounds take time, and quite often I hadn’t spent a thought on the environment in which I placed my creatures.

But it makes a difference, and now that I know it, I try to practise creating meaningful environments for my characters. This here was done with quite a number of these useful photoshop tools like the smudge tool, various brushes with varying settings of opacity. And I tried to stick to my layers…

Landscape with Eagle

Landscape with Eagle. Digital Painting. Photoshop 7.0. Ulla Hennig January 2013

I learnt a lot doing this, especially a lot about how not to work with layers. I got various layers set up, one for the eagle, one for the grass, one for the stones. But: instead of having only the eagle on one layer, and the background for it on another layer I added the background to the eagle on the same level, which makes it rather difficult to change the background.

And I made the mistake of not sticking to the layer when working on the eagle. Suddenly I found myself making changes to the beak working on the grass layer. Duh! Of course you can still get a result, but it took me far more time this way. But mistakes are there to be learnt from, aren’t they?

Of course I also had some positive moments. I learnt how to create your own brushes, how to use some other tools, and most important of all: I am deeply enjoying digitally painting!



Ice. Digital painting. Photoshop 7; Ulla Hennig January 2013

Here I experimented with the clone stamp tool and the smudge tool. It took me some time to find out how to use these tools – and I am still learning! But it is definitely fun…

Mountains and Lake

Mountains and Lake, Final version

Mountains and Lake. Digital painting, done with photoshop. Ulla Hennig January 2013.

The most difficult part for me was to get the green right, to get it look “normal”. I have the same problems when painting with acrylics or even with my coloured pencils. I also find it difficult to paint a realistic sky and to have the blues of the sky and the water matched.

Dancing Trees in winter

Dancing Trees, 2nd version

Dancing Trees in winter. Digital painting. Photoshop 7. Ulla Hennig January 2013

This is a contribution to the January Challenge “COLD” of the Digital Art forum at Wet Canvas. Actually it is the second version where I tried to add a bit more contrast to the snow by using shades of blue.

I was inspired by a photo given on the thread (trees covered with snow), but decided to reduce the number of trees to three, two having the same size and a smaller one. For me often trees have a kind of personality, and so I created a pair of dancing trees.

Red and Yellow Monster

Red and Yellow Monster

Red and yellow monster. Digital painting, done with photoshop. Ulla Hennig January 2013

I don’t know whether I should be worried about the dark depths of my crazy mind from which that monster escaped. Originally the idea was to try out various shades of red and yellow, but step by step these shades merged into a fantasy creature. …

Rosebud – digital painting


Rosebud. Digital painting. Ulla Hennig Januarary 2013

It took me quite some time to get to that state of the painting. The good – or bad – thing with digital painting is that you can work on it forever, and it is so difficult to declare it finished.

Imaginary Landscape with Sunset

Landscape with Sunset/sunrise. Digital painting Ulla Hennig January 2013

It has been a longtime since I did a digital painting. But I am still recovering from my appendicitis, and in a strange way going digital is less exhaustive than working with “real” art tools.

This was done with photoshop 7 and the touchpad of my laptop. Most of the time I spent working on the sky. I had a few reference photos for sunset skies, but the composition has been created totally out of my imagination.



Three. Coloured pencils on drawing cardboard. Ulla Hennig December 2012

I managed to finish this painting in the old year. This is another result of playing around with a curves template, coloured pencils and baby oil.

Here I am again!

Well, sometimes things happen. I had my Christmas vacations very carefully planned: I wanted to so some readings, do some art, relax and prepare myself for 2013.

However I had to go to the hospital on January 2 and stayed there till last Monday because of a rather nasty abscess in my appendix. On Monday I could leave the hospital but I am still on antibiotics. I am still trying to get my strenght back.

I learned two important things:

  1. Never take your health for granted. Health is a present we have to be thankful for every day. 
  2. Accept your weaknesses and focus on healing. That is something I am not very good in. I tend to become impatient, even angry with my body. Why is it me? Why in my vacations? Why? Why am I still weak and getting out of breath after having walked for such a short time? These questions are utterly out of place. I should rather ask myself what are the steps which are good for my body? And I should focus on the things that work.