Friday, September 4, 2009

From Doodle to Work of Art

If you've ever wanted to see the various steps that go into completing a painting, now's your chance!

The Idea: It all starts with an idea, and I wanted to create a flowing composition with kelp, ocean critters local to the central coast, and a dynamic struggle between opposite colors: blue and orange. Of course I wanted to to all revolve around a beautiful mermaid.

The doodle: you sketch it out a few times on a really small scale, just to get ideas, make a small "rough." Hard to imagine a completed painting from this, right?

Blocking in color: Next, you lay it out on canvas with vine charcoal. This charcoal can be easily wiped off so if you make mistakes and change your mind a lot like I do, it's very helpful. After this step, I paint in the final lines, still correcting and changing as I go.

Mixing color: I spend quite a bit of time mixing up all my fleshtones and the neutrals for painting skin. Every element in the painting reflects its color on the skin of your subject.

Blocking in: Then it's time for the first coats of paint to be blocked in in large areas of flat color.

Glazing, Blending and half tones: Transitions between areas of shadow and light are very important. I try to not make mine too smooth, so to avoid an "airbrushed" look. I enjoy seeing thick areas of painted piled up to define space, and luminous tones that "emerge" from the background. Glazing really gives the water a 3 dimensional glass-like appearance. You have to wait for each layer to try, but it's worth it.

She's not done, but she's close! I have to wait for her to cure up so I can glaze a bunch more, put a fish shadow on her skin, and to spend a bit more time on the water and kelp. Final photo coming in a couple weeks!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Why do redheads make wonderful sirens?

Here are a couple of my latest figurative works, of a model posing on a jade rock. The photos are not great, mainly because I took them. I love painting human skin, with all of it's transparency and challenges.
The first one, as soon as it dries really well, will be gold leafed with 23K gold. Gold Leafing, or guilding,  is a process that dates back at least 7,000 years, Egyptians being some of the first known  to use gold leaf. They washed the sand from the Nile for gold, then melted it in a sealed kettle to get pure gold, then they and hammered out flat gold sheets. 
Today the process is for making it is slightly different, but the result is the same: you take sheets of pure gold and burnish them into the areas where you have applied adhesive. The effect is resonant and beautiful, and the gold will never tarnish, unlike other metals.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

First Blog

Hi all,

Thanks for looking at my blog. Here I will be posting my latest paintings; some finished and some unfinished. I'd love to hear your feedback on them as I go!

The first piece is called "The Beast at Velzyland." It's painted from a black and white photograph, and I couldn't find the name of the photographer who snapped it back in 1961. Does anybody know?
With the vintage treatment of colors, it captures the essence of what the surfing lifestyle was back then.