Thursday, August 25, 2011

Lucie and the Wind, Part 5

Did you know that our activity on this blog is inversely correlated to how much fun we're having? So we're pretty much having the best summer ever.

My notes get a little spotty after the coat. This was right before my show in Palm Desert and in between hysterical crying bouts and five hundred phone calls with FedEx I forgot to record stuff in my journal. It seems I reworked the face again. Here is a detail of the eye. I like to start off by painting a rich red line in the crease of the eye.

And then paint into that starting point:

It seems I got wonky with my values and painted everything a shade lighter on round three, and consequently went back for a round four to fix it. By now my show is on and I'm packing up house to move out west and poor Lucie is shoved in a box for several months. When I arrive on Vancouver Island, her chin is the only part that hasn't been darkened, making it project outward like she's some sort of slack-jawed yokel. Here is how I resolved the chin:

So by now I'm working in a room that has, like, windows, and I can see the sky and I realize how lame my sky looks. And in case I didn't realize it, Dave points it out to me about three times before I decide to do a couple of cloud studies outside. Here's one:

Fortunately there were no bears that day, because my pochade box lacks the basic survival accessories like pepper spray and perhaps a grenade launcher. Using my study I repainted the sky. I scaled down the contrast and made up my own cloud patterns from my head.

And now for some instant trees:

So I bet you've been wondering where the hell I'm going with her hair. Just wait. It stops looking like a mullet soon.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Lucie and the Wind, Part 4

So I was obviously avoiding the coat. At this point, though, I have to paint it or scrap the painting. After having nightmares about it I realized I have this really awesome black wool coat in my closet, so I put it on and painted myself from my mirror. Problem solved.

By the way, if you want to make black a little more interesting, mix some ultramarine blue and transparent red oxide into it. When the blue and the red are perfectly balanced they create a lovely dark neutral that adds some pep to the black. Also, from brushstroke to brushstroke you can subtly nudge your colour a little towards the blue or the red for added interest. See? I think of these things.


Since all the folds in the arm (my painting arm, actually) kept changing I thought I'd take the painting as far as I could in one pass. For a while I thought I was Jeremy Lipking (a mistake we all make from time to time) and got a little cocky. I thought I'd paint a knock-your-socks-off alla prima coat. At the end of the day I came down off of my high and realized that I really needed another pass after all. I made an effort to make the button holes a little irregular, but the spacing, unfortunately, is so regular that it's distracting. All I want to do is look at them button holes.


I get really anxious about fixing halos like the one around Lucie's coat. The area I left for her torso ended up being too big and as a result I had to match the existing landscape and fill in the gap. Yes, it was a very stressful day. Now here's the painting in it's frame. It's always good to keep the painting from getting stale and popping it into a frame is one way to do that. You can also flip the painting upside down or look at it in a mirror, or put the painting across the room to look at it. Don't do this too often, or the upside-down version or across-the-room version will start to get stale too. I reserve these tricks for emergencies only, like when I've spent a couple hours painting a coat and I'm beginning to suspect I'm going to regret today's work tomorrow.


At some point that day I also revised the sky. Trusty old Mars and Titanium, with some Cad Yellow Deep to neutralize. Cad Yellow Deep is a pretty awesome colour to use in skies.

Monday, August 1, 2011

ARC Results are in


ARC Salon results are in and Kate got first place in the still life category for "The Nest." She was also a finalist in the figurative category for "Winter Weeds" and I got finalist in the still life category for "Vanitas." Now we have to decide if Kate's prize money should go towards our new studio or if we should buy 2,500 different things at Dollarama. Hmmm.

Also, congrats to all our fellow artists and friends who placed in the competition.