Monday, September 21, 2009

You Ain't Nothin' But A....

This somewhat stoic Basset hound was a challenge on one of the Wet Canvas forums. I loved the look on his face, so "basset-ish". I decided I wanted to do a close crop of the photo, lots of graphic black lines, a complementary color scheme, and as much direct painting and as little glazing as possible.

I did a direct transfer of the photo onto black gessoed acrylic paper, the placement of lines being based on value changes. Then the lines get wiped lightly with a sponge to dull them a bit. Clinical trials have shown that staring at bright white lines on black paper can quite possibly etch the image permanently on your corneas. At least that's what it feels like while you're staring at them for any length of time.

I painted around all of the little black lines with Red Oxide, a great paint for this because it's warm, muted, and about as opaque as a brick. It will cover anything. At this point, my eyes were already beginning to cross, and I was beginning to question the sanity of this method. I suppose I could have toned the paper with Red Oxide first, then added the outlines, but a stubborn little part of my brain insists that the black lines have to be behind the rest of the paint. Common Sense wasn't able to overpower Stubborn Part. Stubborn wins...for now.

When this stage is dry, the white chalk outline is completely wiped off. This is actually a favorite stage of the painting for me; with the chalk gone, the black outlines reveal themselves, and the contrast becomes beautifully apparent. Now I know why Stubborn Part won this round.

Onward. Not only do I have to underpaint around all of the little black lines, but then I have to paint around them too. *sigh* I'll admit, it gets bit annoying, especially when you have the perfect mixture of paint on the brush, and you just want to slap it on with gleeful abandon. The larger parts, particularly the ear, allowed me to slap paint on with glee, just not with abandon.

I can certainly see this method working well in a much larger format painting. This guy is just 5" X 10", and I'm only working with a 1/2" bright brush to keep a painterly feel. If I pick up a smaller brush, I'll start getting lost in the minutiae, and I don't want to do that.

Finished painting, and I'll say I'm pretty happy with it. The process created an interesting "stained glass" look and feel to the piece, which could have been enhanced with multiple glazes. I might have to try that next time.

I haven't been able to come up with a good title for this ol' boy, so for now he's just:

"Unnamed Basset"
5" X 10"
Acrylic on Canson Acrylic paper

My Muse is throwing her support behind Stubborn Part. To adaptability, and beyond.

1 comment:

Pilland said...

______████ _
_____██████ _
____████████__________ ▌
___███____███_________ █
__███_______ █_________█
____█______██______███_ █
___████_█ █__███ _█__██_▌
Hello from Italy!