Archive for April, 2014

The Process Behind “Through the Cracks”

I love mythologies and have wanted to do a painting of the Minotaur myth for weeks. A current painting I was working on wasn’t going so well so I decided now was the time to face the Minotaur.

At first I didn’t give the story much thought at all jumping straight into the design of the creature, emotional range, and referencing pictures of bulls. I was facing difficulties planning a composition that would make both the bull look intimating and include the maze without making the bull too small to work in details. The size I was painting this was a tiny 8×10, I was experimenting with my painting approach and wanted to work small to save time.

I have found that I really struggle with details when it comes to working in paint. My goal was to combat that by doing a really detailed drawing on the illustration board, seal it, then work in thin layers of paint over it to keep the amount of detail and values. I was also thinking that this would add levels of textures and colors, in turn depth.

So I had the approach I wanted to do for the painting, now for the composition. Coincidentally at this time I read an interview series done by Kiri Ø. Leonard called “Women in Fantasy Illustration.” These can be found on Leonard’s blog http://kirileonard.com/blog/ . The one that really influence me was Kristina Carroll, I went to her website to view more of her work then continued to her blog where she posted about her own minotaur painting http://kristinacarroll.blogspot.com/2014/03/the-minotaur.html

I was so struck with the character she had created with her minotaur, the beauty and loneliness of the character. Up to that point I hadn’t thought of the Minotaur as anything other than a mindless beast of legend but it made sense that since he was part human and had known comfort and life in his earlier years that he would experience emotions just like anyone else or any animal would. He is what he is because of his mother’s folly, innocent in all aspects except for his appetite of human flesh which condemns him to a life of being imprisoned until a hero slays him.

When I went back to working on thumbs I found that I couldn’t think of the Minotaur as a mindless beast anymore. I changed the direction of the work and came up with this lonely beast reaching out to the only warmth he has now. Alone in the labyrinth of caves he is trapped in with only memories of the outside world to contend with.

The name of the piece “Through the Cracks” means more than to describe the light. The Minotaur slipped through the cracks of life. A monster that had no business being created, no purpose to his life, is left alone to eventually die.

Pilot

Pilot 2- websizeI originally started this painting so I could have at least one young male in my portfolio and to keep exploring painting on a smooth surface. It was inspired by old war propaganda, I love history and wanted to do a painting that had the look of those old illustrations.

There was a lot of time spent researching since I wanted this to be as accurate as possible. This is a WWII pilot (I liked the planes from WWII more than WWI) in front of a Warhawk.

I do think that this piece is successful in looking similar to the era illustrations but looking at it now it has such a different feel and subject matter than anything in my portfolio that it just doesn’t fit. Also, it’s picturesque but really lacks emotional depth that I can see now that I have moved on to other projects.

Over all it isn’t going in the portfolio but was a great learning experience in how to work with paint.

Art Order: Tiny Paintings

I’ve proudly participated in my first Art Order Challenge. It was a small one, maybe even tiny! I submitted to the Tiny Paintings challenge (other entries are found here http://www.theartorder.com/challenges/past_challenges/15 ). The rules were that the painting had to be traditionally done and 3×3 inches, so I gave it a go! Now it’s going to Spectrum Fantastic Art Live with Jon Schindehette next month along with all the other entries.

I’m glad that I finally submitted to an Art Order Challenge, it is something that I’ve been skirting around for months. Always thinking “I should do that” but never getting up enough gumption to do the project let alone submit it.  So while this is a small project, it is a step; making way for the larger steps of progress.   

The Whispers of Ravens and a New Technique

Hey there! In this blog post I’m just introducing one of the newer works I’ve done, the process I used, and a new technique I tried.

First, I had excitedly began my painting “The Whispers of Ravens” after immersing myself in Norse mythology for the weekend because of the History Channel’s TV series Vikings. I wanted to do a painting inspired by the old myths and take the opportunity to insert more male characters into my work since my portfolio had a majority of female characters.

Odin, in Norse mythology, had two ravens named Huginn and Muninn (“Thought” and “Memory”) who would fly around the world and report to him everything they saw. I liked this concept and the composition came to me rather quickly. This shot of Odin listening to his ravens while looking forward with an age old calm.

Now I’d become frustrated with working on canvas because it feels like a fight with the paint to get detail on such a textured surface. I like working with thick paint and wanted to get tighter with my work so I looked around online to find some kind of technique, whether it was to change oil mediums or the surface I was painting on, that would accomplish that.

I discovered a video tutorial by Cynthia Sheppard, I love her work, which details her process with her painting “Omens.” In her preparation Sheppard used Matte Medium to seal the drawing on illustration board and then painting over it. I had heard about this method very briefly before but discarded it until I saw the video, I ordered the Matte Medium to try it for myself.

Also, I did try some under painting but found that for the most part it was excessive in my process.

So I found I really liked this technique because I can get as detailed with the drawing as I want and be able to keep the feel off it. I also love the slicker surface and even use linseed oil to “oil out” areas before I work on them.   

I really enjoyed painting this piece and adding fun effects with the brush. If anyone has any questions about this process I’ll be happy to answer them if I can.