Sunday, November 22, 2009

the birth, the sex, and the death of ... something?

So here's what.

I'm bored of my self portrait. It's going well but I'm bored. I'm looking for some sort of weird inspiration and start flipping through some Tiepolo and the ideas start coming. I've had this weird pressure from the outside low brow types to keep painting these graphic characters and at the same time this pressure from the figurative side and academic side to go more serious. I started sketching some stuff out, initially I was thinking of myself as The Creator, which I am for these little characters, and then of them reproducing inside the painting without my intervention. Then I thought of it as being the death of my cartoons ... then of maybe a birth of a new fusion of styles. In class I've been bombarded lately with images of the reclining nude ... endless talk of Titian's Venus of Urbino. So much shit swirling in my brain. essentially my head is a toilet in mid-flush.

I'm still figuring out what roles all of these elements and old parts of my life are going to play in my future work. Regardless of if this thread carries on, I learned the hell out of some new stuff on Saturday painting this for 8 hours. I CAN fit these made up characters into a real space. I CAN figure out how the light is supposed to fall. I CAN (more or less) maintain the character of these characters and the general line quality as I continue to give them volume. These were all concerns I've had in the past ... putting flat cartoons into real space ... so the solution is to learn to paint well enough that they don't have to be flat.

I think after critique the next step is to throw a ton of paint on there, obscure all the likeness and see what the fuck happens. But for now I'll have to go with the basement level motto "It's done when it's due". All I am certain of is that when Jean Pierre Roy told us "paint a self portrait with some sort of context" this is not what he was expecting.

birth_sex_death_self stage 2

birth_sex_death_self stage 2 close

birth_sex_death_self stage 3

notice the guy giving me chinky eyes?
At least it's not boring anymore.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

cub scout

Here's my final self portrait after day 1 and day 2. I have another 2 weeks until due. It's coming quite fluidly, which is always unnerving. I have this idea to spend alternate days messing it up (drawing/painting whatever is in my head on the top layer) then the following day pulling the likeness back out so it's some balance of impulse/expression and reality. I enjoy the fight. Who knows if that'll work. A classmate mentioned that it looks like I'm a cub scout inside my little treehouse cabin, and she's 100% right on that - I'm thinking of fully embracing that and turning it into some regressive childhood thing.

so many me

first underpainting stage

and yes, I was a cubscout.

some more drawing

Hand studies, 6 from life. The second image is same model from last week, eye level at about her knees looking up. It's a great vantage point when you have a model with sort of a powerful body. We're just getting to the end of this exercise business and going into the end of term projects. It's going fast, in a week I'll be back in Seattle for Thanksgiving and in a month I'll be back there for the Christmas break. Naturally, all I want to do is work on some different art projects. (and maybe relax a little bit)



Thursday, November 12, 2009

self portrait somewhat in the style of ...

An interesting exercise in painting class today: use the drawing from a black and white photo and paint in the color information using another artist's portrait as reference.

I referenced Ann Gale, off a 400 pixel image, and it was quite a mind-bending exercise holding the color in one part of the brain and the drawing in another, then combining the two ... a bit like an IQ test. I usually fall back on painting high chroma all the time and avoid green at all costs but here tried to embrace the mud, green, and muddy greens, then use the reds and cool lights to pull certain features forward.

Chromatically, it's very different from anything else I've done, and I'll definitely be pulling some of the new painting info into my arsenal.


self portrait closeup

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

studio business


The self portraits are becoming easy to whip out now. This was a couple hours while eating a sandwich. It's going to serve as an underpainting for painting class Thursday. We're using monochrome underpaintings and b&w reference photos, and copying the color treatment from an image of an admired artist. I'm trying to go with Ann Gale, but not sure if it's going to work out for me due to a dearth of good images of her paintings. I just sloppily slathered some shellac over the drawing and learned a couple great ways NOT to shellac a drawing. Did you know that shellac is a resin secreted by the Lac bug in Africa to build coccoons? So this shiny stuff is bug secretion suspended in alcohol. I love it.

ribcage charlie

Ribcage Charlie. This guy is fantastic. I've worked with him quite a lot lately, 9 hours on this pose, and 4 straight weeks in anatomy/sculpture. This was my first completely nice experience with linen and a sort of weirdly luminous lighting setup coming from below.


This model is never very inspiring to me at first, but everybody's drawings seem to turn out nicely.

more mini self portraits

I finished the series of 14 but will just post a few more. These all had weird self-imposed limitations and the colors turned out a bit muddy in the photos. The hardest was the all cool palette. Our of alizarin crimson, cad lemon, and pthalo blue it's really easy to make fluorescent greens and purples, but much harder to approach flesh tones. Basically just have to make it as muddy as possible and work into it with chroma from there. Learned a lot and nearly killed myself. I'm going to continue on as a side project though.

4" portrait
limitation: all warms (cad red deep, cad yellow deep, ultramarine)

4" portrait
limitation: all cools (alizarin crimson, cad lemon, pthalo)

4" portrait
limitation: use just liner brush

4" portrait
limitation: speed and simplicity

4" portrait
limitation: as few strokes as possible

sometimes the lectures are a bit dry

Sometimes the lectures are a bit dry and my notebook gets fun. Check out the close-up of the second image - I was having fun with those faces and an old dried up micron pen.