Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Awwws Yeah

Posted by: Dave
I just received news that I was one of only 20 finalists for the 2012 Portrait Society of America Conference in Philadelphia for my piece "The Trapper."  With a winning streak like this, I am sure my career is leading me towards the hot dames, fast cars, fancy suits, and fine wines my middle school teacher promised me when I told her I wanted to be an artist.  Kate and I are looking forward to seeing everyone there.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Opening at Principle

Posted by: Kate

The opening of Women Painting Women: The Expedition and Beyond at Principle Gallery last week was a great success.  There were an awful lot of red dots on opening night.  I truly wish I could have made it. 

 I love this painting by Rachel Constantine.  I always wonder what path in life brought the man in the background to this point.
 Some of these are studies we did back in 2010 when we went on a painting expedition in South Carolina.
 My Vanitas in a purdy frame
 A red dot!
 Painting by Alex Tyng.
 From left to right is work by Mia Bergeron, Linda Tracey Brandon, Catherine Prescott, Linda Tracey Brandon, me, and Sadie Valeri
 Diane Fiessel, Alia El-Bermani, and Terry Strickland
 Shannon Runquist
 Alexandra Tyng and Rachel Constantine
 Alia El-Bermani, and Catherine Prescott's life-size portrait of me.
 Above the fireplace, Stefani Tewes.
 More studies, and another red dot!
 On the wall, Sadie Valeri's self-portrait, and in front, Cindy Procious's oysters.
 Painting on right by Mia Bergeron.
Shannon Runquist
 From left to right, paintings by Cindy Procious, Mia Bergeron, Linda Tracey Brandon, Catherine Prescott, and Linda Barton
 Stefani Tewes

What was that, six red dots in all?  I'm not really sure because my vicarious experience of the show has been limited to creeping photo albums on Facebook and text messages on opening night.  Above are the lovely ladies of the Women Painting Women Expedition, clockwise from top left: Diane Fiessel, Rachel Constantine, Alex Tyng, Catherine Prescott, Linda Tracey Brandon, Shannon Runquist, Terry Strickland, Alia El-Bermani, Stefani Tewes, Sadie Valeri, Mia Bergeron, and in the front, not fitting into my clockwise naming strategy, is Cindy Procious.

Monday, April 16, 2012

101st posting Super Ultra Mega Zombie Art Competition

Posted by: Dave

It's our 101st posting and to celebrate we are having the "Zombie Art Challenge." That's right, we are asking our readers to submit their best zombie artwork, and just look at what fabulous prizes are in store for you.

A certificate of manliness suitable for framing

2.37 cash (I found this while cleaning out my couch)

One pack of decadent beef jerky

A photograph of the brand new Honda Civic

Your work featured on this amazing blog

Deadline is May 15 for entries. Please email all entries (and hate mail) to Judging will be done by my friend's 8 year old daughter so no one can get mad at me for not picking them and it takes a real jerk to be mad at an adorable 8 year old. This competition is open to individuals in North America only because I am not paying for international shipping. Free to enter. Now here is a piece done by me to get you pumped up.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Iron Maiden Part IV

Posted by: Kate

Time for segment four.  I've been dragging my heels about updating because I'm getting kind of tired of my Iron Maiden joke and every time I write the post title it sounds lamer to my ears.  Here is a photobooth-style synopsis of my first pass of pure paint over the ébauche of her hands.  I find that it's not necessary to jump into details at this point.  Always paint what's easiest to paint.  The cuticles will show up for the party when they're ready.  One thing about fingers: every knuckle is in business for itself.  Even if your fingers are held straight, each knuckle bone points at a slightly different angle.  From hand to finger tip is a slight zig-zag path.  Fingers are crooked.

Meanwhile, on the face, I built up a nice thick layer of pure paint on the most prominent areas--the forehead, the bridge of the nose, the ball of the chin, the illuminated areas right below the insides of her eyes.  The idea is that light hits these parts of her face the brightest because they are the most prominent, so by making them more prominent with thick paint, I will achieve a nifty painting effect that enhances both the tactile effect of the piece and the sense of the thingness of things.  "The thingness of things" is an expression that sounds like it belongs in the mouth of a slack-jawed yokel amateur art lover but in fact I have heard it used by multiple well-educated people who know what they're talking about, so I guess I should use it too.  It refers to when painters paint the essence of a thing as it is perceived by their brains, not just their eyes.  It is the opposite of impressionism and it is one of the things that, if an artist has the good sense to employ it, can make a painting different from a photograph.  If you want to see another example of using paint to capture the thingness of things, check out this post.

This thick layer of paint had to dry for several days (I work with Titanium in my beginning stages because the opacity allows me to make all sorts of flighty last-minute adjustments).  I was then able to begin to rework the face.  My approach is pretty much the same as last time: using pure paint, making a solid effort to hit values and colours, refining the drawing, and just making the painting better in general.  For those of you who use the terms first painting and second painting, I'm basically first-painting twice.  Yep, I have a special permit that says I can do that, and it doesn't become second painting just because I'm first-painting a second time around.  First painting and second painting are just two different ways of applying paint, and while second does come after first, there is no limit to how many times you do either.  I do it this way because it takes the pressure off the first round, creates better and more reliable results, and produces a meatier paint layer.

Not much to say about foreheads, except that you can do a lot by varying the warm/cool tone near the hair line to produce the feeling of form.

The cheek on our right shows how I lay in several strips of colour to demarcate the major transitions in the from; the one on the left shows the end result.

 By the end of this session I had painted everything but the eyes and nose.  Now for the fun stuff.

The background of this piece is going to be completely fictional.  In real life she was sitting in a black office chair in a bright room, but my plan all along was for something dark and textural.  I squeezed a few stand-by colours onto my palette and swished them around with a big brush and some Gamsol.  This palette soup will comprise the "underpainting" of the background.  Notice that my background underpainting extends over her clothes and hair.  This is not only because I want her to seem as though she is emerging from her background, but also because I don't know what I'm doing with her body just yet.  And for the record, one thing I am definitely not doing with her body is making her shoulders a foot across.  She's actually wearing a black cardigan over a tank top, which is making it look like she has little gimpy shoulders.

One of the first painting lessons I learned was to always vary my backgrounds.  One side should be warmer, one side should be darker, brighter, etc.  I'm a very systematic person and if that hadn't been pointed out to me I'd still be laying in perfectly flat backgrounds and taking great joy in it.

I have so many more stages to share and the painting is only just about to get interesting, but it's almost 1am and since Dave brought me coffee in bed this morning it is unlikely that he will do so tomorrow.  Good night.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

New Vanitas

Posted by: Dave

After seeing Kate's new Vanitas painting, I got jealous and decided to start one of my own. Except for academics, sports, street fighting, appearance, brains, building lego castles, and ninjitsu, I will never let a woman outshine me. Kate and I are both involved in a book project that involves painting a Vanitas theme, and before you ask, it's a preserved chinchilla in a jar that I purchased from an "Oddities" shop.....hell yeah. For this piece, I thought I would try a slightly different technique for the beginning stages, which I definitely did not rip off from the GCA......ok, I ripped it off from the GCA. I started by drawing everything out in graphite, which I then transferred to canvas. I reinforced my lines with a Micron pen so I wouldn't lose my drawing as the painting progressed through the beginning stages. I then covered the whole surface with a thinned layer of raw umber and used a rag to wipe out the light areas. Through this layer and the following ébauche, I was still able to see the inked lines. From here on out, I painted everything the same as usual. I find its good to change painting approaches for 3 reasons. One: it keeps my blog interesting. Two: painting gets boring, lets face it, its not as interesting as being a professional big game hunter. A little change is nice. Three: its not like I actually remember what the hell I'm doing from painting to painting. Maybe I should read my blog.

Drawing inked and ready to rock.

Wipe-out complete.

Some parts ébauche, some parts first painted.

Start of second painting on my preserved friend.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Free Stuff

Posted by: Dave
APVM is a quarterly magazine produced by Michael Klein for the purpose of educating the public and artists alike on the contemporary realist scene. For the first time since its inception 2 years ago, the Spring 2012 issue is free to watch with the intention of reaching a much wider audience. However, past issues can still be downloaded for a mere 10 dollars. The artists showcased in this issue are below:

Tony Curanaj
Christopher Gallego
Joshua LaRock
Patricia Watwood
Gabriel Mark Lipper

APVM is vastly more entertaining to watch than its counterpart; AVP.