Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Jumping Youngs-Grisaille Stage 2

Although you can see small bits of the orange imprimatura showing through, I now have paint completely covering the canvas on my grisaille or greyscale painting. Still much work to be done before I can begin adding color. They say the devil is in the details, but at least you can make out what is happening in the picture; three boys jumping in the air. I felt overwhelmed the last two painting sessions because I wanted to cover the imprimatura. My next session will hopefully be an emphasis on just one of the figures. Slow and steady wins the race!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Who Is It?

I decided to do another "Who is it?" This one is a little more difficult than the other, but maybe you might know... Post your answers below.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Jumping Youngs-Grisaille Stage 1

I marked lightest, darkest and mid-point value/tone ranges on my canvas and then proceeded to paint the grisaille. I have much work to do, but I'm happy to get some real shapes blocked in. This painting has much more detail than the Granpa Genoa and therefore it takes more time. As you see, I did not get the entire canvas covered in the grisaille and the imprimatura (in orange) is showing through.

October 1975

On the week of October 27th 1975 a virtually unheard of musician appeared simultaneously on the the covers of two of the biggest news magazines in the world. Do you know who it was? Post you answers in the comments below.

Vermeer or Rockwell?

Put these two masterpieces together and there's whiff of familiarity. The painting on the left is Little Street painted by Johannes Vermeer and the one on the right is Family Walking to Church by Norman Rockwell. It seems as though Rockwell was influenced by Vermeer, if not consciously, then at least sub-consciously. Whatdoyouthink?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

G K Chesterton- On the Modern Man

‘But the new rebel is a skeptic, and will not entirely trust anything. He has no loyalty; therefore he can never be really a revolutionist. And the fact that he doubts everything really gets in his way when he wants to denounce anything. For all denunciation implies a moral doctrine of some kind; and the modern revolutionist doubts not only the institution he denounces, but the doctrine by which he denounces it. Thus he writes one book complaining that imperial oppression insults the purity of women, and then he writes another book in which he insults it himself. He curses the Sultan because Christian girls lose their virginity, and then curses Mrs. Grundy because they keep it. As a politician, he will cry out that war is a waste of life, and then, as a philosopher, that all life is waste of time. A Russian pessimist will denounce a policeman for killing a peasant, and then prove by the highest philosophical principles that the peasant ought to have killed himself. A man denounces marriage as a lie, and then denounces aristocratic profligates for treating it as a lie. He calls a flag a bauble, and then blames the oppressors of Poland or Ireland because they take away that bauble. The man of this school goes first to a political meeting, where he complains that savages are treated as if they were beasts; then he takes his hat and umbrella and goes on to a scientific meeting, where he proves that they practically are beasts. In short, the modern revolutionist, being an infinite skeptic, is always engaged in undermining his own mines. In his book on politics he attacks men for trampling on morality; in his book on ethics he attacks morality for trampling on men. Therefore the modern man in revolt has become practically useless for all purposes of revolt. By rebelling against everything he has lost his right to rebel against anything.' (G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, 1909)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Jumping Youngs-Drawing Cont.

Saving a Dime
Last night I lined out my drawing on the back of my tracing paper with charcoal. This saves me from having to buy carbon paper and doesn't make near the mess. Again, thank you Bill Martin over at Wet Canvas for such helpful ideas! What you see here of course is a mirror image of the picture because you're looking at the backside. I plan to tape the tracing paper over the canvas and retrace the image with a ball point pen. Hopefully the charcoal will stick.

Too Much Oil in the Mix
I began to be a little concerned today when my imprimatura was still not dry. I believe I added too much linseed oil. Those of you who paint know this is a big NO NO! The cardinal rule of painting is fat over lean. Yes, I know and that is what I hoped to do, but I "eyeballed" the amount and put too much linseed oil into the mix. Today I wiped down the entire canvas with Turps (got the house stinkin' before company came over!) and then I painted the imprimatura again, this time using almost a pure mixture of turps, (better safe than sorry).

Ooops! Big Goof Comes Home to Bite!
Tweny minutes later my imprimatura was dry! Hurray! I taped the tracing paper to the canvas and started to draw. Guess what? When I got to the far right edge, I ran out of room. The boy's hand was going off the canvas! Oh no! Remember a few days ago I mentioned I thought I stretched the canvas on lopsided stretchers? Yep, I did it, now I'm paying the price for not correcting a mistake I made days ago. I took the canvas off the stretchers along with about 200 staples, recut the wooden stretchers so they make a perfect 45 degree angle on the corners and then I stapled it all back together again. That's the reason for the white stripe on the side! Ugh! I've learned my lesson on this one.

Grisaille, Here We Come
At least I have a good square canvas to work with now and I'm delighted to have transfered my drawing onto the canvas. When I lay down imprimatura over that white stripe on the right side, I'll be ready to start my grisaille. Finally, I get to paint!

Vermeer-The Geographer

The Geographer by one of my heroes, Johannes Vermeer 1632-1675. I have been so interested in learning to glaze because I would like to capture this kind of beauty in my painting.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Jumping Youngs-Drawing Cont.

While waiting for my imprimatura to dry, I have considerably tweaked the original picture using a program call "Gimp." I was a little intimidated at first because for years, I've only used Microsoft Paint. Using Gimp I was able to zoom in, smudge and blend around the edges of the figures to such a degree that if I were to use a magnifying glass, I might be hard pressed to find evidence of this being a composite of five...count them again...FIVE different pictures. Click on picture to enlarge.

Jumping Youngs- Imprimatura Stage

I am so excited! I finally get to put oil onto the canvas. I combine a mixture of Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna with a touch of Titanium White in order to paint my imprimatura or ground. I mixed a lean medium containing 5 parts turpentine to 1 part linseed oil. The imprimatura primes the canvas. This not only gets rid of the stark whiteness, but also gives the real paint something to grab onto. My grisaille painting (black and white monochrome) will be a nice contrast to this almost orange color.

Smooth Operator
Prior to putting this initial stage of oil paint down, I applied five coats of gesso, sanding between coats. My goal was to make as smooth as surface as possible in order to be able to glaze. The problem I ran into with my previous painting was that the little particles of paint got trapped in the weave of the canvas. This created something like pixeling effect, (little spots). So in honor of the smoothness I was striving for, I went to and entered the song Smooth Operator. Let's just say I enjoy painting!

My Favorite T-Shirt
I was able to persuade my lovely wife to come away from the Sunday paper to snap this picture of me. Of course this was not the easiest thing to do because she did not like taking a picture of me with my "comfortable" T-Shirt. (notice bleach spot on shoulder), but the blue does nicely compliment the color of the canvas, does it not? In the picture I am literally beating the canvas with the soft brush to eliminate as many brush strokes as possible. I'll save the impasto (thick, brush influenced strokes) for the later stages of this painting. My next task will be to transfer my grid drawing onto the canvas using a charcoal method I learned from a man named Bill Martin over on Wet Canvas. Stay tuned!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Jumping Youngs-Drawing Cont.

Hurry Up and Wait!
While waiting to buy Gesso in order to prime my canvas I mapped out the tone/value ranges on my grayscale prints. The final painting will be a composite of these three pictures.
What's the Funny Lines For?
In the one example I've showed the brighest areas in circles, the mid-range (.65 on a grayscale) in squares, and the darkest areas using blue lines. The handy-dandy grayscale thingy I printed off the internet. Oh my, the things you can find on the world wide web! Mapping out these tonal ranges will help to give me an accurate representation on the canvas. Once I prime the canvas I can put a little spot of paint in these areas and have a good guide to know my value/tone limits. I used a tool called "Gimp" program to identify the brighest spot on the picture. I lowered the light level until all I could see was the bright spots on his shirt. Of course the dark was easy to identify with the naked eye, but finding the mid-range I had to to use the grayscale tool. Being able to indentify the brightest spot, the darkest spot and the mid-point tonal ranges is what I'm trying to do. It's a objective/scientific process. This is the "secret" to creating a classical/photorealistic painting using colors out of a tube applied by a brush made of hog hairs.
Click images to enlarge.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Foreigner- I Want to Know What Love Is

Laura and I celebrated our 7th Wedding Anniversary last week. I dedicate this song to her because she has truly showed me what love is! She has been and is a wonderful wife and I am truly blessed to be married to her. I love you Darling!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Jumping Youngs-Drawing Stage-Cont.

Building the Canvas
I found more scrap wood in the utility room. I cut it out with a handsaw and stapled it together with a staple gun. I stretched canvas onto the 16"x20" frame using the same procedure I used on the Granpa Genoa canvas. It took me about an hour to cut the wood, piece it together, cut the canvas from the roll and staple it onto the frame. I am a little bummed out because when I got it all together, I noticed it is not exactly square. You cannot notice it with the naked eye, but it will have an impact. What this means is the painting will have to be hung without a frame, or a custom frame will have to be made for it. After I made this discovery it dawned on me a very simple check would have been to take my stretcher pieces and lay one over top of each other and make sure they are exactly the same size. Next canvas I build, this will be the system of checks and balances I'll use to ensure I get a perfectly square canvas.

Tracing Paper and Squares
Next I taped two pieces of 14"x17" tracing paper together, (just one piece wasn't big enough!!!) and drew a grid of 1" squares with pencil. The grid on the tracing paper was to be an exact double of the grid I laid out on the black and white picture I printed on cheap computer paper. I only had scotch tape to use to tape the tracing paper together, so I used it sparingly, knowing I would not be able to draw onto the section where tape was. Nevertheless I tore the tape into small pieces and very loosely taped it together. This tracing paper is only a means to get the picture onto the canvas. I'm not sure I'll even save it when I'm done. In the past I used a video projector and shined the image onto the canvas and traced it out. Although a much quicker method, I believe I sacrificed the painting to some degree. The video projector ever so slightly distorts the image.

Here We Go!
Okay, now for the fun part! I transferred the smaller picture onto the big grid by simply drawing into each square what was there in the smaller version, following as closely as possible. Of course in my mind, I was thinking this was going to be a little easier than I expected. You might not think drawing something so simple would be a challenge, but there's a lot going on in this picture with all the shadows in the folds of their clothes. Their faces look a little strange now, but this grid basically gives me a map to know where to locate things. It is not meant to be a detailed work. It took me about two hours to complete the rough drawing.

What Comes Next?
Next step will be to prime the canvas. I hope to put about 4 or 5 coats of gesso on it, sanding between each coat. I will then lay down the imprimatura. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Jumping Youngs-Drawing Stage

I have turned the color photo into a grayscale and printed it out on a laser jet printer onto cheap computer paper. I also lightened it somewhat, so I can see the lines. This picture is 8"x10". I gridded it out with 1/2" squares. The painting will be doubled the size, 16"x20". My next step is to get an 8"x10" color photo and a black and white to match it.

New Project!- Jumping Youngs

Here is a new project in the very early stage. This is a composite of 5 different photos. I'm going to try to glaze this painting as well. I've still got to build the canvas, (it's going to be a 16"x20" oil painting). This one is going to be fun!

The boys are sons of a good friend of mine.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Grandpa Genoa-Stage 11

I jumped the gun a little. After looking at the picture in full sunlight I noticed some things that needed work. So I went back to the easel and did a little "touch up." There were a few things that were not quite right. His eyebrow was a little too dark brown and he needed a tad bit more light on his forehead and cheek. Also I worked on his teeth and completely reworked his eyes. I also brought out more highlights on his shirt and toned down the shadows in some places. I worked on his ear and I actually glazed over my name a little because I found it to be a little too dark/stark against the bright pocket.

I truly have come to a stopping point....I hope.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Grandpa Griffith-Stage 10

Learning Process
This painting was really a learning process. Not only was it the first canvas I built my self but it was also my first portrait and experimentation with glazing. I love it! I hope to begin to paint this way as it seems to suit my style. Stay tuned. I already have a new concept in mind for my next project.

My Granpa
Granpa Genoa went home to be with the Lord about four years ago. If he were alive today he would be 91 years old. Actually, he is more alive now than he's ever been. He's with Jesus, the giver of eternal life.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Grandpa Genoa-Stage 9

Grandpa Genoa is coming to a completion. Almost...
I glazed ultramarine blue and burnt umber into the shadows of his shirt and the I glazed Naples Yellow into the light parts. On his face, Cadmium Red Deep on cheeks, ultramarine blue on his forehead and more Zinc white on the light areas. I've found the zinc white to really bring out the transulence of his skin. I put a little burnt sienna on the shadow of his left cheek. I've painted more detail in the eyes. And of course with each application I'm vigoriously blending with a soft brush. I'm having difficulty knowing how to paint his teeth. My instinct says keep it simple.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Grandpa Genoa-Stage 8

I added ultramarine blue in the shadows of the uniform, yellow ochre mixed with hansa yellow in the lighter places of the uniform and I beat the tarnation out of it with a dry, soft brush. I glazed the background with a thin layer of dark purple and as it dried I scumbled a little white into the mix. I glazed the same mixture of yellow around the eyes, red on his hairline and then I introduced the magic...zinc white. I pulled it together and strangely it looks like flesh. It actually looks better in real life than the picture posted here. The strange thing I've noticed about the glazing technique is that it looks better the closer you get to it.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Grandpa Genoa-Stage 7

These Eyes da-da-d-d-daaaa!
They say the eyes are windows to the soul. Granpa Genoa's looks a little creepy at this stage. I have not put any color whatsoever into the eyes yet. Also his teeth have not been touched, (pure white canvas). I've got some ideas running 'round my head about how to paint the eyes after watching the Bee Movie last night. Hopefully it will bring him to life.
Blue...on the Face..? You're Kidding!
I painted thin layers of ultramarine blue on forehead, adam's apple, cheeks and chin, napthol red on nose, ears, lips and eyelid, burnt umber, burnt sienna in dark shadows, viridian green on background. On his WWII US Army Khaki shirt I painted napthol red and burnt sienna in the light parts and ultramarine blue in the darker shadows.

Cover it all With White
In the next stage I hope to scumble zinc white onto the face to lighten it up. Although his skin looks more life-like, he's getting a little darker with each successive layer of glaze. I gotta' lighten him up a little.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Grandpa Genoa-Stage 6

I have applied a thin coat of French Ultramarine Blue to the background. A mixture of Cadmium Red Deep and Burnt Sienna to the face and neck and a thin coat of Burnt Sienna to the uniform. But oh no! Where do I go from here???

Monday, April 7, 2008

Grandpa Genoa-Stage 5

My very first layer of glaze. At this stage is looks like an old-timey tinted photograph. The finished painting will look a lot different, (maybe better, maybe worse... we'll see). Adding the yellow ochre to his shirt, seemed to make it spring to life.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Grandpa Genoa-Stage 4

I worked on his uniform and lightend the background. When this drys thoroughly, I will attempt the first glaze.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Grandpa Genoa-Stage 3

Where Am I Now?
This is the next step: The underpainting layer, or grasielle. I will go over it again with the black and white, and bring out more of the details in his shirt after this stage dries. After I get a VERY good underpainting and it drys (hard as a rock), I will begin to glaze the picture in very thin multiple layers of color.

What is Glazing?
The color gets mixed in stages rather than at once on the pallet. For instance normally to get green, you would squirt a little blue out of the tube and then a little yellow and mix them together on the pallet. When glazing, I will considerably thin down the paint with linseed oil and literally glaze over the picture where I can still see the painting below. I will allow this to dry thoroughly and then I will paint a thin layer of yellow over top of the dryed blue glaze.

Will Granpa Genoa be Green?
Of course not! It's a little more difficult than just getting green. I will be striving to get flesh colors on his face and khaki colors on his uniform. The glazing achieves a three dimensional effect that you cannot get by mixing the color on the pallet. This is the way the Masters did it. My aim is for photorealism.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Elephants Painting Elephants

This is for those of you who have wondered where I've been taking my art lessons. The secret is finally out!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Grandpa Genoa-Stage 2

No I am not painting a picture of the Incredible Hulk. This stage is called the verdaccio. I have painted complimentary colors so as to ensure I cover the canvas completely with paint in the grasille (monochrome) stage. I plan to glaze this painting of my grandpa.

John Piper- One Point Calvinism

"If you say that he (Jesus Christ) died for every human being in the same way, then you have to define the nature of the atonement very differently than you would if you believed that Christ only died for those who actually believe. In the first case you would believe that the death of Christ did not actually save anybody; it only made all men savable. It did not actually remove God's punitive wrath from anyone, but instead created a place where people could come and find mercy -- IF they could accomplish their own new birth and bring themselves to faith without the irresistible grace of God."- John Piper
What do you think?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Grandpa Genoa-Stage 1

The technical term for this stage is called the imprimatura. From what I can gather, it means something like a primer stage. At this point, I only have one color on the canvas, Burnt Umber. It's fun!