Thursday, August 30, 2012

Mask from the past

Posted by: Dave

So I had to put the "Happy Huntsman"  aside for a bit as I was starting to lose forward momentum.  For me, paintings are a lot like rebound relationships.  At first they are all fun and exciting, and it's all about fantasizing the various possibilities of life with them.  Then they start to reach a stage where you realize that they aren't quite as good as you thought they were going to be.  After this, you find yourself starting to avoid  them and really only come back out of boredom.  This is so much like the stages of my paintings.  Sometimes I will even "break up" with my painting at which point it goes in the trash, especially if that painting was really needy all the time. 

Anyway, I thought it would be a good idea to make a really unsellable still life.  The basic rule is; the more your friends like the piece, the less likely it is to sell.  Apple and silver platter, bam, gone the next day.  Gas mask and crates of wood; better be looking to peddle this off as a Christmas gift.  See chart below.

Anyway, doing still lifes are painfully boring unless you at least have some cool objects to look at.  I found an old WW2 gas mask, some wood, and a little hornets nest for this particular setup.  I know what a lot of you are thinking, "But Dave, what does it mean?"  I have no idea, but I know it looks freaking awesome.  If you really need an answer, it's about post-colonial existentialism seen through a male gaze set against interpersonal meta-cognition...and stuff.

Just did the oil transfer in this pic if you look closely.

 Start of ébauche

Ébauche done (more or less)

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Posted by: Kate

Here's a little something I painted a few months ago.  Above you can see that I've laid in a bit of an ébauche. 

Here you can see my first layer of thick, pure paint.  I'm using the delectable Lead White No. 2 by Natural Pigments.  It goes on like butter frosting and tastes like brain damage.  I cut it with some Velazquez medium, which is rendered down fat from Velazquez's remains.  This imparts a gloopy stringiness and causes the brushstrokes to pool and settle a bit.

Look at that ropey-ness.  I picked up a bit of white with my knife to mix a grey, and created a fondue cheese-like trail in the process.  Once again, forever as always, I used my combo of ultramarine blue and iron red oxide to work warm and cool magic in any area that pretends to be neutral grey.  The entire shell was more or less these two colours, plus yellow ochre pale, and a wee bit of alizarin here and there.  Alizarin is that loud guy that you don't want to come to the party, but somehow he hears about it and shows up anyways.  And it's really annoying because he doesn't fit in with your other much cooler friends.

Above, a second pass at the planks behind the shell.  You can see how I've started noodling some texture into the bottom of the two planks.  The top plank ended up being wiped.  When working on texture like this I like to work up to higher contrast layer by layer.  I won't put my darkest notes in until the final pass, and that's also a good time to re-accentuate the highest notes too.  This helps keep things from getting messy or unmanageable.

Final pass for bottom plank, with some extra delicious crunchy bits.

Lurvly paint chips!  So much fun.  Digging through other people's demolition garbage piles is totally worth it, tetanus shots aside.  Most of the paint chips were applied with a palette knife.  Now for some close-ups:

I love how that top right corner is an abstract painting all on its own.  Below is the preparatory drawing for the painting:

I've had this piece of paper with white droplets on it for years, waiting for the right drawing.  Oooh, and guess what?  I have a brand new piece of studio equipment:

His name is Bishop.  He keeps exactly three square feet of floor warm and takes care of any extra pigs' ears that might be burdening my workspace.  He also comes with a whistling snot feature that acts like a meditation chime while I paint.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Another Doppleganger

Posted by: Kate

So here's that dwarf guy from that thing and a painting by somebody who is probably dead and might be Russian, or possibly Spanish.  I think we can say with certainty that he was European.  Or maybe North American.  Time to get back to Breaking Bad on my husband's laptop.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Happy Huntsman

Posted by: Dave

I know I have been slacking on the updates, buy hey, it's summer, and someone has to drink beer and fall asleep in the sun.  I have started to move along on my "Happy Huntsman" piece and am now working into the first painting stage, but before I get into details, I have to talk about the new dog I just adopted.  Now I know that everyone thinks their dog is the best, but it isn't, mine is.  In fact, if you have a small dog, that instantly puts you out of the running for having a cool dog, especially if it's one of those tiny white ones that has a permanently stained face and has the intelligence of an Idaho potato (sorry Tara).  My dog Bishop is going to be included in my next several paintings, so plan on seeing him some more in the upcoming months.

Below you can see the drawing completed for the "Happy Huntsman", along with the color studies.  I am trying something a bit different with this piece by focusing more on the larger dark shape/silhouette of the figure contrasting with a lighter colored background. Again, I cannot stress the importance of preparation when doing a painting.  Drawings, life studies, thumbnails, color studies, etc are all extremely useful.  You never want to paint yourself into a corner on the final piece (see how I did that, you see how that works on those two levels, ah nevermind.)

Start of the underpainting, done in raw umber after the transfer was completed.

The ébauche, using a mixture of vermillion, lead white, raw umber, ivory black, and yellow ochre pale.  The colors are extremely limited and muted at this point, as is the value range.

The beginning of first painting along with a paper towel for some reason which I didn't bother to move before taking the picture.

And here is something awesome I drew just because I am awesome.  Sometimes it's simply fun to draw something completely different from what one normally does.  Drawing things like this makes me give it up to all you illustrators and concept artists.