October 27, 2011

Finding Mr. Ripe

Voila!, it's done!

View the previous posts to see a progression of the piece as I've worked on it the last few weeks.

If you haven't been following along, this was done for a 'Gallery of Terror' -a Halloween themed blog to which some friends and I have contributed over the last several years.

October 24, 2011

Life After Life: Flimflammery

So, I'm getting really close to being done with this painting.

As you can see, I've worked through the tough spot (see last post), and rays of hope have started to shine -yeah, I think this will turn our alright. :)

It's probably good I'm posting all this in my blog. I think I tend to forget how much I work through each problem while painting. It's good to remind myself how much tweaking and adjusting I do all the way to the end.

I've put a little more work into the figures and have fleshed out their hands and adjusted their overall proportions to be a little more accurate. I took the time to photograph my hands in similar positions, in similar lighting, for reference. I tilted the guy's head back. I felt it really important they have eye contact.
There's still work to be done, but after all, I'm just sharing a work in progress.

I've slightly adjusted my original story idea and changed a few things. My goal is to try and say as much within the painting without needing to rely on a title or explanation.

I added some pumpkins and will later paint in the vines for the final version. I felt it really needed something more -plus pumpkins are so 'Halloween-ish."

I need to get into 'crunch' mode to finish this before the weekend -which may mean working on it for 2 hours each night rather than the regular 1. ;)
But honestly, at this stage things tend to come together pretty quickly.

Stay tuned! . . .

October 17, 2011

Life After Life: Mumbo Jumbo

Here's where I start to lay in the base colors and begin painting over the whole thing.

This is also the stage where I usually become most frustrated and feel the most doubt as to whether the painting will turn out to be as worthwhile to paint as I'd hoped.
-To some degree, this happens with EVERY painting I do.

Thank goodness for artists who blog. In the last several years, I've discovered this stage of doubt and hesitancy in painting is pretty universal.

I usually get through this by working on little sections at a time and 'trying out' different things just to see what would work. It's not very obvious between the two stages below, but I tweaked the composition quite a bit. I discovered the image was really getting heavy towards the right side and used the warp transform tool in Photoshop to re-position things.

Sometimes, I get so frustrated I start grabbing big chunks of the painting and move and slap them down to try and find the right balance. Turning my frustration into action has never really failed me and usually turns out to be pretty beneficial. I can't afford to hold any one part of a painting sacred and need to be able to 'destroy it' to 'create it' the way which would work better.

As I continue to work, I discover the need to add more details here and there. Some of that is evident in the second image, but there's still more in my head I realize I need to modify or add to bring more interest to the piece.

Stay tuned for next week . . .

October 9, 2011

Life After Life: Gobbledygook

So here's the next stage of the painting.

I've chosen one of my sketches to refine and stretched it to fit an 8x10in 300dpi document. I actually sketch over the drawing three times, each time refining the drawing even further. I was searching for a general design and movement to the piece and wanted to play with the idea I found in the sketch -to have white (or lighter) shapes against black (or darker) shapes, and vice versa.
It was also at this stage where I defined where the eye level would be. With the help of perspective-fu*, this helped me place the environment inside a believable space.

Because I had the luxury to do so, I left the sketch overnight to allow myself a fresh view of it the following day.

This next one is a result of my playing around with some values and colors underneath the sketch. I set the sketch to multiply and move it to a layer above the color. I also save this out as a separate document and reduce the dpi by half to save file space. When I settle on a direction with color, value, lighting, etc, I'll take the color information back to my original sketch to finish it with.

You'll notice I changed things around on this color comp. Just as with the sketch, I set it aside overnight night to get a fresh view of it the following day.
In the original drawing, I noticed the figures were a little to small to my liking. I adjusted their scale. The items in the foreground didn't seem to flow very well in relationship to one another (and to the composition as a whole) so I started moving them around too.
I pulled out one of my compositional grids to help me figure out what to do with them. I knew that something wasn't working well, but I couldn't put my finger on it. I think this helped quite a bit, but I'm not 100% sold on it yet. I'll probably keep playing around with it all the way to the end.
The goal is really to try and solve as many problems as I can in the early stages of the painting. I still anticipate quite a few hurdles as I go along, but at least the problems I've addressed now won't (hopefully) come back to haunt me later.

*The ancient martial art of showing a painting or drawing who's boss

October 3, 2011

Life After Life: Gibberish

For the last 4 years, some old friends and I have contributed to a 'Gallery of Terror' blog every October. It's a fun way to keep in touch and there's usually a theme to follow.

This year's theme is 'Life After Life.'

I thought it would be fun to post a week by week progression of how I develop my piece for the gallery.

My process begins with scribbling down ideas in the form of thumbnails and little notes to myself. Since the creation of my handy-dandy homemade sketchbook, I can do this much easier on the fly and don't have to rely on trying to compile doodles from scraps of paper throughout the day (at least I don't have to rely on doing that as much as before.)

Most people are disappointed when they peer into my sketchbook, since I use it mainly for brainstorming and figuring out good compositions, not making pretty pictures -that part comes much later.

Here are 4 pages from my sketchbook for this piece. Decipher them if you dare!!

When I feel I've got a good idea, I also create a reference folder on my computer (sometimes with sub-folders within it) and start gathering images (generally off the web) to help me with some of the details of the painting, specify a mood, and sometimes even spark further ideas for how I could develop the painting later on.

Here's a screen shot of the reference I've collected so far. This is pretty average for the amount of reference I collect for any image. Sometimes there's a whole lot more.

Anyways, I'll be sharing what my idea is for this gallery piece in the following weeks. Or at least you'll be able to see it for yourself as it develops further.