Friday, April 29, 2011

Portrait

I thought I would show my last portrait piece all finished up (for the most part.) Unfortunately, I didn't get it done in time for the PSA, but there is always next year. I still don't have an official title as of yet. It is between "Suzanne", "Seung He" (her Korean name), or "Girl with the Feather Brooch." I could also give it a super pretentious name like "Untitled #12 in Grey" or "The Existential Harmony of Memory."  That way, people think I'm a deep thinker.

One thing that I really enjoyed on this piece was working with multiple lead white pigments. I started in the beginning layers with Blue Ridge's Flemish White and did the finishing layers with Rublev Lead White #2 from Natural Pigments. Both great companies with great products. I enjoy the Flemish white for the early layers because it dries quickly due to the pigment Calcium Sulfate. It is also very thick in consistency and great for impasto. Lead White #2 has Lead Carbonate and a walnut binder, so it dries more slowly and yellows less in time. It is also more smooth in consistency and has great thixotropic properties.  I like to use the smoother paint for later layers because it is much easier to blend and get fine details.  (I also know my wife touched on this paint last post, so I thought I would follow it up)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

And the winner is....


Well, looks like I have managed to win the competition. As initially stated in the bet, Kate must now erect an obelisk plated in gold to reflect my glory. It will be no shorter than forty feet in height, and covered in precious gems. Every day, she will present it with offerings of frankincense and myrrh for no less than one year.


Monday, April 25, 2011

Painting something to look like the thing it's supposed to look like

One thing Dave and I have been experimenting with in our painting is manipulating the character of the paint itself to imitate the textures found in nature.  You can use a vast array of mediums to affect the texture of your paint, and any variety of tools to sculpt it. This extra attention to paint quality will increase the Awesome Factor of your paintings by about ten orders of magnitude.

In the above shot I took the lurvly Flemish White by Blue Ridge and, taking advantage of it's natural body and increasing its stringiness with a bit of stand oil, I dragged out irregular ridges of paint that imitated the roughed up edges of the book's paper. Without adding any other colour the effect of shadows between the pages was achieved naturally. Of course the effect might be lost under different lighting, so I added the shadows manually later on, but the tactual effect of the rough paper is still there. On the top of the book the paper was much more regular, so a single stroke of thick paint with a bristle brush was enough to create the striated texture desired.



Here is pretty much the exact same thing all over again.


Just a few more books to complete, and once the wall and the table top are painted the whole thing will be done. Alas, I have lost the race. Dave will be posting his smug update later today.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Comparison of First and Second Painting


I took this shot yesterday part way through my painting session.  I've second painted the large book and belt buckle to the top left (already sunken in), and the three little books clustered to the side of the large book are freshly second painted.  The green and red book are still only first painted.  Because of the coarseness of my canvas, I have a lot of difficulty painting with pure paint and bristles and consequently skimp on the detail in first painting.  If I had a smoother canvas there would be more detail in first painting.

I took another shot at the end of the session.  All the books have been second painted.  There is some text and filigree to add in later.  I won't paint the table top until all of the objects sitting on it are complete.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Painting Show-Down Update

So I thought I would write this entry since my wife as been doing all the writing up until this point. In addition, the last entry about "Pride and Prejudice" was starting to make the blog a lot less manly than I had intended. I personally would have mentioned the painting from Ghostbusters 2 of Vigo the Carpathian; a much more worthy painting of note.


Anyway, I am pulling ahead in the race and have begun to add the finishing layer to the painting using medium, which consists of stand oil, linseed oil, mineral spirits, and a bit of paprika for flavor. You can see how certain elements of the painting are saturated and others seem dull. The medium, which I apply with a make-up sponge, allows the paint to move more easily across the surface and equalizes the refractive index of the dry paint layer. The refractive index for those who don't know is the way light interacts and reflects with the paint surface. It also makes me sound smart when I use the term.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Mr Darcy *swoon*

Raise your hands if you remember the Lake Scene from Pride and Prejudice!

The painting of Mr Darcy/Collin Firth that we see in that scene went up for auction in London a couple of years ago and sold for £12 000.  It's old news, not new news, but hey, I thought that was pretty neat.  Too bad I didn't have £12 000 and an auction catalogue a few years ago.  I'm sure Dave would love to have a life-size oil painting of my celebrity crush hanging in our house. Right, honey?

Painting Dopplegangers #2

Kevin Kline and Dr Nicolaes Tulp!


"The Anatomy Lesson of Dr Nicolaes Tulp" by Rembrandt van Rijn

Friday, April 1, 2011

One Week In

Okay, so Dave is totally kicking my ass on this competition, but SOMEONE leaves all the tax preparation and bookkeeping to their wife, who ends up taking days out of the studio as a result.  I went in yesterday and found that Dave is already first-painting the still life objects, meanwhile my painting was still just a half-finished drybrush riddled with drawing errors.  So, I decided to just skip the rest of the drawing stage, which was actually pretty stupid, and just dived right into colour.  I really, really hate the beginning stage of a painting and Dave does too.  I think we're both coming to the conclusion that the best way to deal with this stage is to just skip it.


Here is my colour lay-in, or ebauche, or whatever you want to call it.  Although I've abandoned the "drawing stage" of the painting, I still have to establish the drawing, and here I'm doing it with colour shapes instead of lines and light and dark patterns.


Here is an up-close shot to show the scruffiness of the paint in this stage.  You can make it really solid if you want, but that takes premixing of paint.  I like to slap colour up on the canvas and adjust it on the canvas surface, instead of the palette.  This of course creates a mess.


Here's a shot to show the edge quality at this stage.  Things have to stay kind of soft and undefined at this stage.  Aim for accuracy, but keep it vague.

And now for Speedy Gonzalez's painting:


While I was killing my right brain with a calculator Dave wrapped up his colour lay-in and got well into first-painting.  The colours are awesome and I'm really glad he went with the blue cable instead of the orange one.


Here's a close up of the first-painting. You can see that Dave is using a variety of paint texture. He'll probably keep building up the crusty impasto on the brick fragment until it feels suitably brick-y.