Saturday, March 28, 2015

Morning Glory

I'm not sure if I should call this a work-in-progress.

I don't exactly feel 'done' but I do feel like there is no where further I can take it, and any further tinkering will lead to ruination.

It's a happy-but-not-quite-satisfied feeling.  I'm about 80% excited about the result, but I still feel like it's not quite complete.

So I'm putting it aside and calling it complete.  For now.

This piece is a reproduction of a photo that the Well-Travelled One took at my old house.  The third, or maybe second, summer I lived in the Dollhouse we found a crop of morning glories growing in the front garden, in spite of never having planted them.

The two sets of leaves are the result of the vines partially engulfing an existing rosebush.

It was overcast the day the original photo was taken, resulting in a dead-on light source and very little shadow, and giving the appearance of a stark-white background.

I had a difficult time with the water droplets on the rose bush leaves.  If I decide to come back to this, I will be attempting to fix those.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Hideout - Redux

This particular fix is one I was rather nervous about undertaking.  It's yet another literal interpretation of the first verse from Sarah Harmer's 'The Hideout' from the 2000 album You Were Here which is all kinds of wonderful and I just adore Sarah Harmer.
Look at that green
Out through the screen
After a quick rain came
So fast that
There wasn't time
To roll up the windows
And pull the clothes down off the line
Those lyrics were the inspiration for this piece.  I was torn on whether I wanted to try a redo on it, since truth be told, I really liked the original.  It was one of my early pieces that I have been really proud of.

But still, when I looked at it, I felt like I could just do better.

When I finished, I was really not sure I hadn't made a huge mistake.  The finished update seemed so much darker than the original.  It wasn't until just now, writing this post, that I thought "Yes, this is better."

Here is the original:

There are still a lot of aspects of the original I liked.  I loved the way the sheets on the line turned out, and at the time that was the best tree I had rendered to date.  When I set out to redo it, I wanted to concentrate on the sky and grass, make them look less.. brush-strokey, I guess?  I also wanted to make the colours look a little more natural.

First thing I did was block in the areas around the tree, deck and clothesline in solid colours, adding texture in layers afterwards.  This marked the first time I made any use of glaze in layer colours. I also made a lot of use of masking tape this time around on the railings.  I tried to work using a back-to-front progression, which meant I ended up having to paint over some things multiple times.

For the clouds in the sky, I found a really helpful video tutorial on painting clouds.

Finished product:

Saturday, March 7, 2015

In Old Yellowcake

Oh my god, you guys.

I am so excited about this one.

It was a pretty ambitious project and I am done and I am (mostly, because this is me) thrilled.

First, listen to this song, as it was the inspiration for this triptych of images.   Remember how I said I was a big fan of literal interpretations? This originally started out as what was going to be a trio of more metaphorical images based on the album "Who Will Survive, and What Will be Left of Them?" by Murder By Death (Which I still have ideas bouncing around my head for).  I wanted to create a set of images set into what is essentially a painted frame.. that is, I wanted to give the appearance of a framed picture that is actually part of the canvas.

After a month or two of staring at the canvas, which I had masked off into separate squares, sketching and erasing and sketching and erasing yet again, I changed tactics.  I had Rasputina's "In Old Yellowcake" ear-worming through my head for a number of months (thank you, Well-Travelled One) and every time I listened I could visualize the lyrics in my head, so I scrapped the original idea, and took three images from the lyrics and separated them into panels, to create a sort of visual narrative.

Here is my final product:

Acrylic. I honestly don't know the dimensions off hand.  I think it's something like 36x12

The 'frame' as seen here I added after removing the masking tape that I used to block off the three panels for each image.  I'm ridiculously happy about that part, as it looks exactly how I imagined it.

Here are the three panels, up close:

"Smoke rises from an ice factory..."

I have only two complaints about this piece.  The first pertains to the first panel, and is only that I wish there was a little going on here.  I like the silhouette of the factory in the background, and the colour of the sky.  I was going to try and incorporate the 'passing bicycle' into the scene, but bicycles are hard.  I was able to use some of my pumice gel on the gravel pathway winding up the road.

"Under the window, covered by curtains all lacy and spattered with blood.."

My second complaint has to do with the girl in the second panel.  I'm not crazy about how expressionless her face turned out.  It kind of reminds me of a Barbie doll face.  That being said, it took me umpteen tries to get the face looking THAT good.. I'm happy to have gotten it at least looking fairly symmetrical and human-like.  Faces are hard.

I love the way the curtains in the background turned out.  One of the colors I have is called "Unbleached Titanium" (Liquitex 434) and it's a kind of off-white that gives a really good dirty-grimy look.  I used it for the curtains in this frame and the dude's blanket in the next frame.

"...there's a man over there in the old muddy corner. He's asleep but he'll wake up soon."
I used the pumice gel in this frame to really get the idea of a rough, dirty stone kind of holding cell and I think it worked really well.  I employed some more masking tape to create the bars in the foreground, because I wanted this panel to appear as kind of the opposite perspective from the second panel.  At the last minute I added the shading (something I often forget) from the bars to give the room a more three-dimensional look.

All in all, I am quite excited about how this turned out. In my head it seemed rather ambitious and intimidating, but once I latched onto this idea and got going it was hard to stop.  Once I finished, I giggled like a madwoman for a good 10 minutes, I was so pleased.

(If some of the colours seem a little off, it's because I tried adjusting some of the colour settings on the photos, which didn't turn out too well.  Live and learn.)

Monday, March 2, 2015

Morning Moon

I'm kind of a fan of painting literal interpretations of songs.  A line here, a piece of imagery there; something will stick in my mind and I'll find myself wanting to try and paint or draw it.

Acrylic on 12x16 canvas
This is painting, as far as interpretations go, is about as literal as you can get, and it was based off of a verse from Morning Moon, which is the first track off of the Tragically Hip's eleventh album "We Are The Same."
The reactor's down, I guess for Labour Day
Today's the first day I ain't seen a great plume of steam
From across the lake, from across the lake
Hey, that's a morning moon, yeah
It's kind of a "What you see is what you get" or may be a "What you hear is what you get [to see]" kind of thing.

I enjoy the colours.  Probably could have been more careful in creating the reactor's silhouette, as they are a little lopsided.  But I've generally always been pretty happy with how this turned out.  It's pretty.

Incidentally this, along with the Gord Downie portrait, remain the only two portraits that, to date, I have sold for actual, real, legal-tender-for-all-debts money.