Today I am featured in the Skwigly Advent Calendar. I contributed a painting of a Santa of all cultures.
When I was asked to contribute I asked for today's date as it's the names day of Sinterklaas, the original Santa Claus. In the netherlands we still celebrate it, and there is no mention of Santa or christmas trees until after the 5th of December.
However for this painting I wanted to create a Santa that is a bit of a mix of everything: father winter, father christmas, russian Santa, Dutch Santa, American Santa, forest spirit. So yes, that's why he does have antlers.
If you are interested I kept a log of the work in progress, so here it is:
I used a lot of reference for this picture, including every interesting santa I could find, oil paintings, and of course pictures of old men's faces.I started of with putting the rough composition down and then started working on his face.
Slowly his face is taking shape. I liked the idea of santa having green eyes, but in the end had to make them brown as they disappeared when you zoomed out.
Here you can see the rough colours and composition. I always intended him to have reindeers around him, but ran out of time eventually.
I started dropping in details. The antlers seemed to look great on him! I wanted him to be bigger than the reindeer, as father winter is a big man.He would in theory burn his hands on the lantern, but I wanted him to gently hold it with an open hand instead of clenched fist. I think it shows he is in control and calm.
Continued detailing the face, and adding the fur to his hood.
Resized the reindeers, and of course they had to have antlers too. One was going to have a suspiciously red nose. I also changed the colour of the background from sickly green to blueish. I remember one time a painter telling me "never paint with green!!". It has since then become my goal to try and paint with green. But every time I buckle to blue.
I decided to give his staff the curl of the staff of Sinterklaas as another reference. I started detailing the hands and the lantern and as I was running out I cheated the fur on the staff-holding arm by copy-pasting the other fur and repainting it a bit. Never underestimate the power of copy-paste!
Realising I had to let go of the reindeer which upset me a lot. I will still paint you in soon, my deers (see what I did there?).
Finally I adjusted the colours a bit afterwards. Here it's a bit extreme, but you get the jist. Just simply colour balance and levels did the trick.
And then eventually we end up with the image on the top!
Here is one final detail: