Painting for September 27

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The Star’s Daughter – acrylic on panel, 6″ x 8″

I have… mixed feeling about this one.

First of all, you really should see it live and in person.  Trust me – the colours of her hair have a nice depth, and her skin tones are far more delicate than what you see here.  For some reason, WordPress just makes this one seem garish.

But wonky colours aside, I’m not sure about proceeding this way.  I can look at this painting and know exactly where I stitched stuff together (and I will always see that!), and don’t get me started on how long it took to find all the right elements!  Even when I got the right shoulder and head pose (and the hair!), it didn’t always follow that the shadows matched.  In fact, finding all the reference images ended up taking much longer than the actual painting!

What I like about this painting:

  • the fact that it’s an ORIGINAL work.  I promise: there ain’t nobody nowhere walking around looking like this!

What I like less about the painting:

  • I couldn’t find very hi-res references, so it feels a little “fudged and slurred through the difficult passages”.  But more than that, I started the painting with a sense of “why bother?”, and that’s just not the way to do it…
  • I will always and forever look at this painting and wonder “Do all the elements coalesce?  Can anyone tell it’s a Franken-painting?”

What I learned through this process:

  • coming up with original ideas is HARD.  And SCARY.
  • and ultimately, that is why some artists are strictly representational.  If it’s not directly in front of them, they won’t paint it.
  • I miss the zen factor of painting from internet images.

What I MIGHT change…

  • Her hair.  I liked my initial colour layout and just kept it that way, but now I wonder: does it look too unfinished?

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Painting for September 7

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Face Study no.2 – acrylic on panel

Here is my painting for September 7th – Day 7 (well, for me, it’s Day 2) of the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge.

What I’m happy with:

  • pretty much everything on the right side.  Those pale colours with that thin outline really make me hum with satisfaction.
  • the white highlights.  SO much easier to do on any surface that is NOT paper.

What I’m less happy with:

  • pretty much everything on the left side.  The reference image is very calm, and I somehow made her look like she walked away from a bad fistfight (“you should see the OTHER guy!”).

What I’ve learned so far:

  • because I have practically zero training in painting (and this despite the fact that I have a Fine Arts Degree – chew upon that, alma mater!), I’m a lot less comfortable making paintings that are, I dunno… paint forward?  I forced myself to use the biggest brushes possible for as long as possible on this tiny panel, but I was happiest when I could take out the detail brush, or when I could apply the paint as if I was drawing.
  • Slow-Dri Blending Gel really works.  Bless you, Liquitex.

What was going through my mind practically all the way through:

  • I suck at painting
  • y’know, if I did this with Photoshop, it would come out AMAZING

See you tomorrow!

 

The “30 paintings in 30 days” challenge

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Face Study no.1 – acrylic on paper.

I swear to you that I am not crazy – I’m just at a serious stand-still when it comes to my art!  I need a decisive kick in the pants, so against my better judgement, I’ve decided to participate in Leslie Saeta’s “30 Paintings in 30 Days” challenge!

I’m just kidding – cranking out a painting a day is actually a really good idea.  I did that for a week last winter and I ended up learning so much (and bonus! I had 5 beautiful landscape paintings by the end of it).  I talk a big talk about how I want to be a serious artist, but that’s never going to happen if I can’t even decide on what I want to paint, or if I lack the skills to get those paintings onto canvas.  Thirty days of face studies should not only bring my skill level up to something acceptable, but also help me to determine if painting the figure is what I want to focus on at all.

Here we go….!

Artistic Output of 2016… so far!

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Starting at the top, left: Face Study (pencil on paper); Face Study (digital); Face Study of Nita Naldi (digital); commission of G.I.Joe’s Duke “Long Day at the Office” (digital); 5 Daily Paintings of New Zealand landscapes (acrylic on panel)

As we approach the halfway point of 2016, I thought it would be cool to assemble all (or most of) the artwork I’ve produced so far this year and get a better sense of where I want to go next. Continue reading

Life Lessons from Kim Kincaid

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Kim Kincaid at work.  Image via Thatthornguy.com

How old is too old?

This is a question I’ve been wrestling with for some time now, particularly as I battle my insecurities about my work and, even more particularly, that sinking feeling that I’m doing too little, too late.  On a certain level, I know that if I don’t try to get a handle on my art now, I’ll just be that much older when everything does come together (yes, I’m an eternal optimist, just a dour and grumpy one).  So I guess the REAL question is: Would I rather end up an old bag with a failed, late-in-life art practice behind me, or just… an old bag?  I think we all know the answer to THAT question (hint: it’s the one with the words “failed art practice” in it.  Got it?  Ok, moving on…) Continue reading

My complicated relationship with Fanart

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Fanart doodles of Kylo Ren from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, being forgiven and welcomed back into the fold, because I am really, really, REALLY counting on a redemption arc

I draw fanart.  I’ve been doing it ever since I saw “The Dark Crystal” in theaters way back when, filling my sketchbooks with doodles of Jen and Kira and the Mystics and even Fizzgig (no Skeksis, though -they were too difficult for my 8 year-old self). Continue reading

The Blue Lady

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Every now and then, I like to get back to basics and do a proper study.  Since most of the paintings that I have planned center on portraits of women wearing late 60’s – early 70’s clothing, an image from my copy of La Fileuse (a French knitting pattern catalog) from 1968 was a good place to start. Continue reading

So why exactly am I doing this? or: What you can learn by throwing spaghetti at the wall

I’ve been holding back on writing this post for some time (don’t let the publish date fool you – I’m actually writing this on April 25th!).   And the reason for that is: I’ve been doing an awful lot of thinking.

I’m the kind of person who loves to do endless research and rumination and carefully put all of my ducks in a row before even thinking about launching into something new (trust me – no one has ever called me spontaneous!).  What I set out to do – what, in fact, my BIG GOAL was – was to launch a Fine Art Career.  Years after getting my BFA (and not using it… well, actually, I did, but I leveraged it to get into a computer animation career instead), I was FINALLY going to pick up the brush and make art that 1) made me happy, and 2) made me some money so that I could keep making art.  And, seeing as we’re living in the Age of the Internet, this blog was supposed to be a major backing component of said art career.  But… I ran into a stumbling block: I couldn’t decide on what kind of art I wanted to do! Continue reading