Sunday, August 8, 2010

Eyes Revisted

Last post ended with an almost finished portrait minus one crucial portrait detail...eyes.  It can't really be a portrait without the eyes, can it?!

After some adjustments to head width and eye spacing, my painting transformed from Cuban dictator to a pleasant, lost-in-thought Uncle D.

What is he contemplating?  Knowing this image was from a photo taken while he was vacationing in Rhodes...perhaps a missionary journey of Apostle Paul.  Perhaps the choice between tzatziki or hummus.  Perhaps the well-being of his tomato plants back home.  Cold-fusion?  World peace?  Ford vs. Chevy?  Maybe we'll never know.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

How Long Does A Painting Take?

I'm often asked, "How long does it take you to paint a painting?"  That's really hard to answer because as I'm reflecting and trying to gather that information I come up with this missing chunk of time.

Madeleine L'Engle in her book Walking on Water, Reflections on Faith and Art offers and interesting explanation.  We are all familiar with chronos time, as in "chronological", the ticking of the clock.  But she suggests another type of time called kairos or "real time...that time which breaks through chronos with a shock of joy, that time we do not recognize while we are experiencing it, but only kairos we are completely unself-conscious and yet paradoxically far more real than we can ever be when we are constantly checking our watches."

It seems to me that artists work in this kairos time, totally absorbed in the act of creation, losing self-consciousness for the duration, becoming more themselves as a result.

All that to say, the time it takes to complete a painting totally depends on the painting, of course.  But for a concrete is a painting I started yesterday.  It went from a white 16x20 inch canvas to this in about 4 hours minus the various interruptions supplied by my three children.

As you can see, he still has no eyes.  He did have eyes at one point, until I realized that I'd gotten the face shape wrong.  I never knew how few steps away Uncle D's face was from Fidel Castro's...cuz that's who it looked like before it got the turp wipe!

This painting has a few hours of work left...tree branches in the background, eyes, glasses, flowers, and then tiny little details to make certain parts stand out.  I'll let you know the total hours when I finish.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Final Look: Portraits of Places

I finally finished up those three pieces from the last post.  The sailboat picture had to go through some changes to the dock.  I just could make the post in the water jive with scale of things.  My solution was to remove it and extend the dock all the way to the edge of the canvas.  The other pieces  just received more details.  Landscapes sure take more planning!  These were more like portraits of places.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Composite Challenge

My current project is giving me a nice challenge.  Different from the regular close-up portrait in which I normally utilize only one photo, I'm working on predominately landscape images from a composite of two photos.

The location in the images was of sentimental value to my client.  Not only did she want her kids in them, but also the view or the house or the boat.

I ran into an issue with the boat painting where I needed to use the boat and boy from one photo and the girl and the dock from the other.  The first time I painted it, the boy was much too small in comparison.  Yes, he was supposed to be further away, but it just wasn't working so he had to be wiped out and repainted.  And I thought this image would be the easiest to paint!  I'm usually wrong about that.

I decided to work on all three simultaneously for a couple of reasons:  so that the color palette would related between them, so I could switch around between them when I got frustrated on something in particular, and so they would be similar stylistically.

After sketching and transferring the drawing to the canvas, I applied a light wash of paint with lots of paint thinner.  Kind of a watercolor-ish effect.  I just wanted to have some color on there with the major pieces blocked in.

Then I mixed my skin tones and painted in all the kids, followed by their clothing.  The polk-a-dot dresses were fun.

Today I channelled my inner Bob Ross to paint a happy little tree and my inner van Gogh (that's a scary thought) to get the grass approximated.

Ah, but I hate it when skin tones get muddy.  I'm doing a little reading on color-mixing.  Still lots of stuff to do and changes to make, but that's what the process is all about.  I'll post the finals when their done.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Jackson Pollock 51

Jackson Pollock's 51 showcases his creative process.  A very interesting video.