Tuesday, July 17, 2018

One Fair-Enough Question, and an Answer to Another

I'm often asked, "Where do you get your ideas?"
It's a fair question to which there are many answers. I read a lot of folk and fairy tales and fiction, and I look at a lot of old and contemporary illustrations. Those stories and images 
inform--semi-directly--a lot of the works I create. But...

...sometimes the artworks arrive from my unconscious/subconscious being. When sketching for relaxation, figures and characters just work their way from my brain and heart down my arm and out the fingers that hold the pencil; or in this case, the brush. I liken it to the old-style darkroom experience, when the paper was placed into the developer and the image magically appeared onto the photo paper. There's no pre-visualized image; I put the drawing implement down and let the image happen. And it is magical, and I never tire of the experience.

This work-in-progress happened like that. After some unconscious sketching of figures that really did not resemble this fellow, I dipped a paintbrush into black ink and drew directly onto the primed canvas. To be accurate, I painted the outlines freely with a #3 round brush, allowing the figure and the objects to stay undefined. 

Then I looked for references for the clothing and the objects, adding the details as I saw fit. Because I'd primed the canvas with a reddish-orange ground, I was able to paint over and adjust the initial, loose lines and clean up the parts of the drawing I wanted to preserve.

Above are a couple of detail crops of the finished piece. 
Still haven't a title for it, but it's 12" x 30", and will be in an upcoming show.

I got an email yesterday inquiring about my "average painting process".  I sort of use an average process but it does vary a bit with each artwork. Here then is the process sequence I used for this piece:

1--Coated the gessoed canvas with a reddish ground (in this case a mixture of Art Spectrum Fine Tooth Colourfix Primer (Terra Cotta) and Maimeri Polycolor Yellow Ochre

2--Painted the outline using a brush and India Ink (sometimes I use thinned, black Polycolor, but I like the smoother flow and value of India ink a bit better)

3--Fixed the ink with clear acrylic spray varnish (otherwise the application of subsequent acrylic washes will cause the ink to run)

4--Touched up and corrected the initial brush drawing with the reddish ground and black Polycolor

5--Mixed four values of grey-green Polycolor (dark, medium dark, medium light, and light) in sealable, plastic cups

6--Painted the shadow areas--keeping the grey values accurate to the local value of each area

7--Painted the lighter grey areas

8--Added highlights with white Polycolor

9--Added tinted glazes to punch up the green hue in the character's eyes, and some white tinted glazes  to soften some of the highlight edges

10--Varnished with a coat of acrylic gloss medium. When that's dry,  added final coating of Soluvar (which gets rid of the "tackiness" gloss mediums often have, even when dry).

I'm open to all the questions folks ask--they are a sign of interest in the work I create, and much appreciated.

Thanks for checking this out : ]


  1. Wonderful character! And thanks once again for being so generous with the information on your process.

    1. Thanks, Kathleen! And in truth, I learned the process from others thank goodness :)


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