Saturday, February 28, 2009

Racing start one... not there yet... painting the void was a killer!

With this one, I tried to use the background to convey a sense of speed...

Not being an abstract painter, I find it difficult to work without structure. I guess I'll have to get used to it with this series... as it's not my intention to depict stadiums and crowds in details!

I still haven't resolved the box or the background to my liking...

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Racing start one - the finish line is getting closer... as I am trying to figure out the background...

Not having a lot of time at my disposal for painting today, I decided to address the background area in a hurry. Props disappeared or were reduced to their simplest expression (e.g., starting block is pale blue). I brought back the crutches I used to resolve the previous painting (vertical abstract patterns). I plan to accentuate patterns of light and dark at the bottom to create a subtle gradient from the bottom to the top and to make the vertical abstract patterns blend more with the environment. Enhancing contrasts on the figure and further correcting body proportions should give me the look I want for this piece...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Racing start one - step IV... getting there slowly... like a racing turtle!

One more pass will allow me to enhance contrasts further and to try to make some sense out of the props at the bottom, i.e., making them recede or disappear so that the figure comes out even more. Further work on the background will be necessary to make it a little warmer and to introduce more textural effects.

Note to self: "Backgrounds are still a challenge for me since the moment I start thinking is the moment they become predictable and uninteresting. Next time I won't think!"

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Racing start one - steps II-III... bringing the kid back!

For this second step, I brought back my spatula "cement repair" technique despite a rather traumatic experience with the first painting from this series... I'm a glutton for punishment!

One hour got me into this relative mess...

... and it was time to get the control freak back... making an effort to confine him within the boundaries suggested by this semi abstract rendering!

A couple of hours got me where I needed to be for some serious work...

A few more passes will give more depth to the figure and correct any anatomical flaws (e.g., lengthening left forearm). I also need to introduce more texture, contrast and color variations in the background to make it look more interesting... without losing the emphasis on the runner.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Racing start one - step I... going with an abbreviated runner again...

Here is an opportunity to go abstract! Hopefully, I will put my money where my mouth is!

I decided, with this one, to avoid the bulky bodybuilder look for more of an aerodynamic effect. In the Kenya of the 100 meter race, this runner will be a gazelle... not an ox!

This is a 24 X 30 canvas...

Friday, February 20, 2009

The 100 meter dash series... off to the races ... two is a crowd!

I am indulging a bit in self promotion here... sort of the marketing guy in me! I took this picture to show the dimensions of these paintings... and, to provide a harbinger of things to come. The real reason, of course, is to put pressure on myself!

After some hesitation and a fair amount of apprehension, I seemed to have found a viable path (at least in my view!) for the construction of this series. I will construct a race from start to finish emphasizing both power and speed...

The biggest challenge for me will be to convey movement and speed through the language of paint. Wish me good luck... I hope I won't need it!

Note: Since then, I have given more of a tri-dimensional look to the head on the left so that it fits better with the tri-dimensional body! This is the challenge of reconstructing from different sources. In the end, the same lighting needs to be applied to all the different components to make a cohesive whole...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Starting block 2 - final step... the emergence of the destroyer in me... i.e., stamping out part of my work!

This was the source of the original idea... the runner is positioning his feet on the starting block head down.

I want the series to look as if runners are coming from another planet!

In the final sprint, I conveniently brought the vertical abstract patterns from the background into part of the figure to create the illusion that the figure had just emerged and that it was in the process of being constructed in front of our very eyes. It was also an attempt to stop the viewer's eyes from exiting the canvas via the right arm, after having read the picture from left to right. The fluo tank top was meant to emphasize details from the upper back and shoulder areas.

I want to experiment with this series, getting off the beaten path...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Starting block 2 - step IV... getting close to the finish line... and sweating bullets!

Another pass will be needed to tie loose ends on the figure (increase contrast from black to white, introduce slightly more red in the skin tone, implement corrections where needed). Also blending part of the figure with the abstract background would help integrate everything better.

I wanted this guy to have muscles at places where people don't have places! This is a 30 X 30 canvas... and it made me sweat!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Starting block 2 - steps II-III... on the starting block again... that's how it feels!

I felt the need to make the runner look more real before starting, and I also wanted to accentuate the red underpainting in certain areas, a tactic that served me well in my most recent paintings.

I was thinking sculpture... and, in 30 minutes or so, I established the mood by dragging semi transparent paint on the surface with a painting knife and a brush... trying to generate "happy accidents" I could build on. I may have gone overboard on accidents!

A couple of hours got me where I need to be for the final sprint tomorrow. I am going for the surreal evening lighting of a stadium. I need to accentuate shadows and highlights everywhere and keep building layers until I am satisfied with the final product. The body doesn't yet fully belong to the environment because of the fairly cool colors used. Warmer colors will be added where appropriate. I also want to create more of a tri-dimensional effect with mid tones...

Hopefully, my best painting won't be somewhere in-between start and finish!

Note: I had fun playing with the number... but it had to go in favour of an abstract rendition of the crowd area....

Monday, February 16, 2009

Starting block 2 - step I... leveraging my old carcass...

For the second painting of this series, I decided to take on the challenge of reconstructing a "starting block" pose using myself as a basic model and a still from the TV set that was not good enough to be useful as sole reference.

I am going for an African American style of runner... rearranging muscles a little to avoid the "snow shoveler" look!

I would like more abstraction with this one... evidently this is totally experimental!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Here is my Valentine to you Nicole!

Thanks for the inspiration! You are amazing!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Charlevoix beach scene 3 - final step... boning up on the spatula!

I settled for a blueish/pinkish atmosphere throughout. I also went for a rather conservative portrait style... the only true portrait in the whole beach painting series. I exercised a little artistic license but remained true to the model.

The use of the painting knife in selected areas has changed the appearance of my paintings quite substantially... for the better I think. I welcome the change not only for that aspect but for the sense of freedom that I have gained using this new tool. I want my art to evolve towards more freedom of expression.

This painting is part of a series of paintings that I have always wanted to get out of my system... using my limited talent to pay homage to my partner in life. I feel privileged to have the time to take care of this unfinished business... this labour of love! I don't intend to sell any of these... and probably they wouldn't sell anyway.

Now its time to let loose on another 100 meter dash painting... I am not sure they will sell either, but I have to get them out of my system!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Charlevoix beach scene 3 - step III... getting there...

This third step gets me closer to where I want to be. In terms of color values, I need to dial them down a little on the side of the figure and dial them up a little on the side of the immediate landscape. In this fashion, everything will be part of the same picture! Color transitions on the figure need further work among other cosmetic considerations.

Note to self: "I can't seem to work more than a couple of hours max on any painting otherwise I get impatient. Perhaps I should go for a finish in one day every time so that my real personality transpires in my work!"

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Charlevoix beach scene 3 - step II... a frantic canvas blocking exercise...

Still using heavier bodied paint, I ended up impatiently smearing 4-5 colors in different badly blended mixes all over the canvas until I got some recognizable shapes and forms, and the beginning of some unity... a far cry from my usual organized multilayered approach.

Initially, the surface looked like a war zone... but after a while the control freak in me took over. Fortunately, the final product is likely to show some signs of a struggle. Hope I can bring it to fruition without losing too much the character of the initial creative frenzy!

There is a sense of freedom when spreading colors intuitively without thinking to much . Hopefully, one day, my mind will be able to accept most of these initial results. A barrier for now is my incapacity to properly judge the value of colors mixed in a thick gel paste. The nature of acrylics does not help as they dry darker... and the gel has a slight whitening effect. I should premix colors normally and drag them into gel as a second step.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Charlevoix beach scene 3 - step I... after the beauty and the beast, back to beauty!

Today I took a piece of canvas to accommodate a 24 X 30 frame and went for another beach scene I had in mind to get closer to the completion of my series.

After the previous painting, I felt inclined to go back to the "Muse" as a model perhaps to soothe my mind... in preparation for another portrayal of brute strength in my new 100 m dash series. This "Ying & Yang" approach suits me perfectly... as long as I don't mix the good, the bad and the ugly!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Starting block one - final stretch... learning slowly how to smear with acrylics!

I am slowly getting comfortable making expressive marks with thick acrylics (colors extended with gel medium). This one is likely to make people back off 100 yards at first glance. It was my objective!

Owing to the use of heavier bodied paint, I saw for the first time a link between painting and sculpturing... somewhat of a leap from fluid watercolors and Chinese black ink. An ideal for me would be to leverage both fluidity (flowing paint) and solidity (impasto) in my paintings.

Note: In retrospect, in the final version, the "ICS" had to disappear to avoid any distraction from the main subject.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Starting block one -close to final step... not the apotheosis of my art carreer but it did release the kid in me!

I need to wait for daylight for final adjustments. All and all a good experience given the fact that I tried new ways of applying paint.

Given the state of affairs after my first 5 minutes of experimental paint application (using a painting knife for the first time to paint the figure), one could wonder how I got as far as the previous snap shot! Look at this harbinger of things to come below...

... a monument raised to my favourite adage: "if you're gonna be dumb, you've got to be tough". Needless to say, somewhere down the line, when it comes to the development of a looser technique, there has to be a happy medium!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Starting block one - step II... on the starting block myself but it's my head that seems to be on the block!

On this second pass, I tried to obliterate the best I could this large mound of flesh! I used everything but the kitchen sink to apply color (palette knife, fingers, towel, brush...). At some point in time, I felt like running in the other direction!

Mixing larger amounts of thick paint is still a bit of a struggle for me, especially figuring out the right amount... my palette is a mess. The challenge with the third pass is to use brush strokes and colors to make the surface more interesting and give it an abstract quality. The abbreviated information - actually, a bad TV screen shot - I have for this fairly large painting is forcing me to move a little beyond the boundaries of the purely figurative.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Starting block one - step I... approximating 200 pounds of muscle.

Having bought five 36 X 36 stretched canvases to start this series on the Olympic 100 meter dash, but a bit gun shy about initiating a first move, I finally taped a 30 X 30 piece of canvas on Masonite. Talk about confidence!

This guy will probably lose a few pounds by the time I am finished with him... or is it gonna be me who will lose the pounds?!