After a round of rough sketches I had a fairly good idea what the composition and overall concept would be. I then set out to find reference materials for the figures and environment. Since the environment needed to be set deep underwater, looking to photos and paintings showing light falloff from the surface didn’t apply. Oceanography photos of deep sea submersibles and remotely operated vehicles were studied, as well as images of various sea creatures. Professional models were also used.
I could have made up how light fell across an alien head but it needed to be as believable as the other two figures. Luckily I had originally done a sculpture last year that fit perfectly. It was just a small head and neck maquette done for fun. When I had the opportunity to do this painting it felt natural to drop her in. The wet look to the maquette was achieved by applying my mom’s clear nail polish. I didn’t have the professional gloss coat normally used for sculpey but this worked just fine. I’m glad I put time into every wrinkle of her skin. Reflected blue light popped up in areas I would never have expected.