Sunday, January 31, 2016

Girls at the Pool

I took a cruise with about 20 family members this past November. We had pretty decent weather through most of the week (although things went south *snicker* around our second last day on the boat.

The boat had a pretty nice salt-water pool with two water slides and four hot tubs. After a day in the pool, however, you'd start to feel kind of like a potato chip.

My mom got a good action shot of the girls jumping into the pool, which was the inspiration for this piece:

Acrylic on 16x20
I was nervous about this one, but surprisingly the difficult part wasn't the girls themselves, it was that there was so much going on in the background. I took a break from this one for about a month, as I was getting frustrated with how girls didn't really seem to stand out from the busy background, and at one point I messed up the skin tones and they ended up looking like they were severely sunburnt (which, surprisingly, no one was).

So I walked away, and then last night did a marathon session to get it done. I'm not sure if I'm entirely satisfied, but sometimes I need a day or two to sit on things before I can consider a piece complete.

Fun Fact: To do the mosaic tiles on the pool wall, I used drywall tape.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Awenda Park Christmas Eve 2015

We had a rather ridiculously warm December this year, not seeing any mentionable amounts of snow until almost New Year's Eve.

On Christmas Eve the boyfriend and I took a drive through nearby Awenda Provincial Park and stopped for a bit at a spot where, through the trees, you can see out over Georgian Bay.

(You can also climb down the cliff to the beach, but nah).

Acrylic on 10x8 masonite board
The more I work with them, the more I am coming to prefer the Liquitex Soft Body acrylics to other heavier bodied acrylics.

I goofed and ended up wasting a lot of paint, as I initially mixed a batch of Ultramarine Blue (Red Shade) with some titanium white for the sky and water, but as I was mixing I came to realize that this blue would be too greyish, and that I needed more of a greenish undertone to catch how blue the sky was that day, and switched to Phthalo blue (green).  I'll have to remember that the green-shades are for skies, and the red-shades are for mixing greys and purples.

This is another one where I hand-lettered the sign, because I am impatient. A stencil would have probably come in handy.  Oh well.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Portrait - Young Debbie Harry (Vaguely NSFW)

This is another entry in my series of practice celeb portraits.  This is a reproduction of a well know picture of Debbie Harry in the earlier days of Blondie.

Acrylic on 5x7 canvas board
Full confession:  I have seen the original image countless times over the years but it wasn't until I started painting this that I realized that she's not wearing any pants.  Like, None. At. All.

Awkward.

I decided to tackle that aspect of the image with a lot of shading, because I have observant kids, and while I think I could deal with a conversation of "Mom, why are you painting that woman's vulva?" "Because PUNK ROCK, honey," truth be told, I didn't really want to. 

Also any  attempt I made to do otherwise resulted in a "HOLY NAKED CROTCH BATMAN" level of unsubtlety.

So, in short, we get shadows.

Originally I was going to stick to shades of blue for the entire picture, but I decided to add some pinkish-purplish tones to differentiate skin from T-shirt, and also to make her hair standout. I opted to make use of negative space for her hair to really give that platinum blonde kind of look.

Things I like: This piece has a very watercolor-y slap-dash look that I like.  My attempt at recreating the Doctor X on Ms. Harry's t-shirt included a little too much retarder, which resulted in the runny messy look.  I liked it, so I kept it.  There were a lot of little "happy accidents" that ended up contributing to the overall feel of the piece.

Things I don't so much like: While I feel like I'm getting better at somewhat proportional faces, they all seem to end up very generic looking to me. The pose is recognizable, but overall I don't feel like it really looks much like Debbie Harry at all.  More like a cool picture of a generic pants-less blonde singer.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Portrait - Matt Good (but, not really?)

So, this is definitely not a portrait of Matthew Good.

4x4 acrylic on cork coaster
Unless, of course, it actually does kind of looks like Matthew Good.  Then it is totally him.

This picture took me about 15 minutes and is basically a shitpost.

Sorry, Matthew Good.  I keep failing you.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Portrait - Shirley Manson

I have another work in progress that once again is intimidating the hell out of me. I figured I needed to have a few go-to ideas to work on for practice for those times when I want to paint, but am not, because of reasons, able to attach the current WIP.

I'd like to get better at portraiture, so I've put aside some pictures of people I can use as muses for practice work.

First up, one of my childhood heroes.

Acrylic 6x6 on hard board
Shirley Manson, lead singer of 90s band Garbage, was a major aspiration figure in my formative teen years and I spent a lot of high school attempting, badly, to emulate her.  So she is a pretty good fit for one of my first attempts at fan art (my actual first attempt being my Gord Downie portrait - another hero of mine).

I actually made two attempts, the first one turning out laughably cartoonish.  So I went back and made an attempt to fix the eyes, as well as the weird hairline.  I'm pretty happy with how the hair turned out. I think there was some improvement on the eyes, I'd be lying if I said I didn't think they were still wonky as hell, as I've somehow made her slightly cross-eyed AND cock-eyed.

But the hair looks, good, right?