Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Christmas Card Painting Versus the Actual Christmas Card

The Rectangular front panel of the completed Christmas Card

The Square Mixed Media Distressed Painting

Well over a month ago I wrote abut the completed Christmas Card Painting. At that time I also promised that I would publish a comparison of the painting with the card when it was finished. By now those who were to receive a card in the real world have, so I’m playing catch-up on the art blog.

Comparing the visuals above one can see how different they are in composition. First, the changes were necessary as I went from a square format to a rectangular one. I had planned on the card being rectangular because the standard size for postal use is 5” x 7.” That is why the central image of the Madonna and Child (Virgin of the Veil (1500) Borgognone) is a rectangular format that shrinks in size as each set of layers in the painting is completed. Second, the accidental process of layers of images and paint added and removed over time creates its own compositional argument, and I wasn’t completely satisfied with the composition of the finished painting. I spent a great deal of time playing with placement and size of various elements using Adobe Photoshop. So, the final card is very different in composition from the square format of the original for both these reasons.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Prototype Landscape Finally Finished

I walked into the studio yesterday with the idea that I would alternate work between the experimental landscape and Christmas cards. First, I cut and pasted inserts into 8 cards. Then I filled my water tub, prepared the palette and stepped up to the canvas thinking, “h-m-m-m-m-m, I could add a wash of green on these spots in the lower left corner, and I might put a dab of opaque white paint here in the middle of the canvas, and I could extend this curved line across the central canvas to the upper left.” But then, I thought, “is all that necessary?” I answered myself with a great big “NO!” Instead, I thought, “It’s finished!”

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Experimental Abstract Landscape Almost Finished

Landscape, third stage

It must be a testament to how busy my life is. I forgot to post these images on my journal though I had put them up on Facebook. Not to complain, busy is good!

Landscape, forth stage

I’m giving away a secret. Technology has helped in this process tremendously (bigly). If I had decided to work this way before digital photography and modern laptop computers were invented, say 1979, I would have had to purposefully set my 35 mm camera lens to be totally out of focus, shot a roll of film, taken that film to the drugstore, waited a week for the photos to come back before I could sort through them, and then the images still might not have had the color and abstract quality I would have been looking for. Instead, today I am able to shoot in focus photos with my digital camera, load the images into my trusty laptop, and manipulate them in Adobe Photoshop in a number of combined pemutations until I obtain something approaching the images I see in my mind’s eye.

I am satisfied with the way the painting is working. I need to deepen some areas in the shadows with more layers of transparent color, and at the very last I will need to add some off white, to white opaque paint patches to indicate the sparkle of sunlight shinning off of and through foliage. I may adjust the major zigzagging horizontal / oblique division of space here and there just so it is more definitely 1/3 to 2/3.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

New Abstract Landscape Painting

Here are the first few steps in the first week of work on a new landscape painting. I’ve worked with only 4 mixed acrylic colors, a dark but transparent violet, a deep but transparent crimson red, a transparent tint of cobalt blue, and a deep but transparent emerald green. All of these colors have been painted into a very wet surface, and often I used a wet brush to go over edges of painted areas.

I must emphasize that this painting is experimental. It is very different from any artwork I’ve made in the past. I have made landscapes but none that weren’t based in realism. While I have worked with many different techniques over the years, oils - graphite and pencils, watercolor, acrylics, mixed media distressed painting, graphics and computer graphics – these have always contained realistic images even when abstracting and/or also containing nonobjective passages. Instead, this painting is to be made up completely of abstracted washes and opaque passages of acrylic paint.

If this landscape works the way I want it to, I will create a new body of work based on it. If it does not, I will not pursue the technique any further. I’m hoping that upon completion - in addition to the obvious color transparencies and abstracted nature of the work - there will be an abstruse spiritual quality that projects to most viewers. There will only be one way to find out if that is so. I will have to make a questionnaire and poll viewers.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Finished Mixed Media Distressed Christmas Card Painting

The 10” x 10” mixed media distressed painting has gone through 6 stages with about 6 layers in each. While not completely satisfied with the painting, I’m done. However, this is not the final image for the Christmas Card. In order to make the 5 x 7 image I will have to crop out some of the various components in the painting. That will necessitate making copies of the various components so they can be pasted back into the 5 x 7 inch image using photo shop. That will not be as easy as it sounds. I will have to move things around, and possibly change the size and attitude of some elements until the entire composition comes together. I will make a comparison of the mixed media distressed painting and the card image on this blog when the card is ready to go to the printer so the viewer can see the differences between the two.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Harrison Ford Portrait Finished and Installed September 18, 2016

The 3 x 4 foot painting looks small next to the larger portrait of Leonardo DiCaprio. In the second image above changes in style and technique are also readily apparent; 1) the image is more fluid without damaging the likeness, 2) the fluidity is a result of the purposeful curvilinear shapes, 3) and the blended opaque and transparent passages. These last two techniques are different from the patchy chunks of opaque color used in the past though I continued to use that technique in this portrait as well.

I’m sad to say that Windows On Queen, our Goddaughter’s banquet facility at Character’s Restaurant in Lancaster, PA now has its complete compliment of character portraits. So, if I continue making these I shall have to find another venue for display. At the same time, I would like to move on to another body of more abstract work based in landscape. Perhaps I can continue to do both as well as doing more mixed media distressed paintings for the LGBTQ Pictionary. Good grief! I need to clone myself in order to do all this simultaneously!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Harrison Ford Portrait – One Week To Go

The details are a (BLEEP)! As I wrote in earlier posts, I’m working with a more complex technique on this portrait. Instead of working with all hard-edged patches of color I’m working with transparencies in some areas, and blending opaque areas in others, with both these techniques set against the hard-edged patches of color. Because of that I spent 3 hours on Harrison’s left eye yesterday, a small area of several square inches. In the flat opaque areas I am having to do two coats because the acrylic is drying transparent. So, I guess it is time to change brands of paint, or look for one that is labeled, "thick and opaque." Most acrylic paint colors should be opaque until thinned with medium and water to be transparent.* So, I am having to paint with the smallest of brushes in order to keep small details even and crisp, making sure the second coat is perfectly aligned with the first. Never the less I am extremely pleased with the painting, and I should be finished the week after my 72nd birthday.


* exceptions are magenta and pthalocyanine blue and green.