Thursday, December 30, 2010

Self Portrait in the Key of Hale, Part Two: Hate painting and effing hatin' it.

I talk when I paint, and not to people. To the paint. I assume this makes me a candidate for institutionalization. I talk more and more the more emotional I feel about the project on which I am working. Sometimes I giggle, and and make jokes about my painting. I tell it it's cute. These are the good days, the paintings I am really loving, not because they are particularly good but because I am throughly enjoying myself. Then there are the other days. The days where I wonder how I have failed myself so badly.

These days are filled with angry grunts and curses under my breath. There is a lot of the self-depreciating language they warn you against in grade-school, and a lot unjustified verbal abuse directed to the painting itself. A sample dialog is as follows, it's a crazy person dialog with only one animate participate, but whatever:

"Ugh, underpainting why do you have to be so damned dark? You're obscuring the drawing, dammit!"
*awkward silence as I battle with my inner dialog*
"Oh, because I painted you that dark? Well f*** you, painting. Maybe if the paint wasn't so dark out of the tube... mumble mumble"
*angry grunt, then furious mixing of paint*

The painting I am working on has produced a good deal of these kinds of days. Here are some of the crappy photos of my crappy work. I know that it is supposed to look the way it does, but I cannot help but feel like a failure at this stage in the painting process. It happens every time.

Anyway, here is the first coat of olive green over the primed drawing:

As you can see, it's very dark. Too dark. Hence the above madman dialog. At that point, I was still happy. This changes quickly when I start to add my whites.

And now I'm pissed. No matter that the painting is supposed to look like that at this stage. I am irrationally angry with myself, and with the painting, and no amount of logic will pull me out of my self-hatred. I know the only way to save myself is to keep painting...

So, I paint and paint and come up with that piece of garbage. I thought adding some Vandyke Brown would make it suck less; Vandyke brown always cheers me up. I was wrong. It made me so ill that I had to take the photo at an angle that made me not want to throw the painting out the window along with my own frail body. Instead of initiating my personal demise, I did what I usually do when I am upset. I kept painting.

Glaze some color (mostly Vermilion, Yellow Orchre, and Viridian) into it, tighten up some of the shapes, and Voila! I don't hate myself anymore. After hours of angry, blood-thirsty painting, after countless minuets of clawing away at a chunk of wood with a hairy stick covered in colored mud, I come to this. This thing I don't love, but that I can stomach looking at. And now I can continue on into the painting, hoping all the while that my inner Lou Ferrigno stays quiet.

Now for some close-ups, if you are into that sort of thing:

Monday, December 27, 2010

Self Portrait in the Key of Hale, Part One: The Drawing

I took this photo a while back and decided it needed to be a painting. It has a very Phil Hale feel to it, and considering my infatuation with his work, I thought I should pay some homage.

I decided to begin the painting by drawing the image directly onto the MDF that I would be painting on. Here are a few steps of the drawing process:

The final drawing (below) was then spay-fixed to the board using a Korean equivalent of Crystal Clear (it is hard to find name-brand art supplies over here), and coated with several coats of Liqitex clear gesso. Those of you unfamiliar with clear gesso should know it is fantastic stuff. It really is nearly transparent, though it does need liberal sanding to keep it from feeling gritty.

Tune in next time for the first few coats of paint.

To everyone who cares:

I realize I've been pretty awful about my presence here on the interwebs. I intend to fix that. I've been living in Korea for a few months now, and I am discovering that unless I improve my self-promotional efforts online, I might as well fall off the face of the illustration world. So without further ado, let the posting begin.

Oh, and for those of you who visit my terribly maintained website, I will try to get on updating that too.