Friday, July 27, 2012

Process Shots

Normally, I don't photograph works in progress.  Often it's because I'm not happy with what I've done by the time I'm done for the day up until the day I'm putting on the last strokes.  Other times it's to keep subjects from getting self-conscious, or clients from getting worried...not because I'm bad, but because not everyone gets the process.  Or, I might nail some spot that I love, but because the rest is underdeveloped, it doesn't feel right to document it.

But this time, I've got a commission, and it's requiring me to try something new...well, not entirely new since most people have played with watercolors as kids.  But over the years, working in acrylic and gouache, I've gotten used to direct painting, and watercolor is a whole other thing.  So I've been hitting up the web blogs and tutorials to get a grasp on how to achieve what I want, but let's face it, as with most creative endeavors, trial and error is the best way to learn.

Now what I'm shooting for is a sort of classic style in the school of Arthur Rackham or Edmund Dulac, two of the Victorian era's greatest illustrators.  Their works were typified by pen and ink drawings colored with washes of watercolor.  Dulac tended to be richer in color where Arthur had more of a washed out sepia look. I sort of plan to split the difference.  So, I made my drawing from an old photograph, and started by staining the paper (I chose 185 lb paper...which actually turned out to be too thin for all the washing I was doing, that was Lesson 1).  Then, I had to let it dry.  Now, I could get a hair dryer, but some feel it changes the tone of the paint and fortunately I had another small project to work on between glazes.

I wanted it dark, with a lot of contrast between the figure and the background.  I didn't bother with masking fluid and later just lifted the spillage with a brush and water. Also, a little color seeping helps to keep the the figure and background looking unified.  But I have to admit, I get bored and frustrated working this way.  I usually end up causing a lot of the bleeding myself because I keep wanting to jump into working other areas, but you can't add more of a water media next to a wet area and not expect to see the tendrils of color worming their way over.

And the thing about watercolor and washes is that you have to do tests or swatches because what it looks like fresh and wet isn't always what it looks like once it dries.  Some colors stay bright or seem brighter, others wash out really easily.  The one that seems most obvious, but is somehow easily forgotten, is that it's not likely to have much of that gloss (without mediums) that you may or may not like.  And so on.

Once I had the background down, I went back in to work the figure, but I still didn't directly paint any of the tones.  I'd wet an area, drop in the tone then give it some mild working with either a brush or small make-up sponge, or both.  The buckling of the paper caused some pooling that made for some matte effects in the thicker paint that I wasn't crazy about, but over all, she turned out ok.  However, my final pieces are going to be a helluva lot more might be another couple of tests until I can jump in.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Painting Water in Watercolor

No real series for this week.  In fact, this one should've been the wrap-up for last week.  This week's material are tests for a new project and commission I'm working on.  It's taken some getting used to to get back into watercolor after being so used to direct painting, either in acrylic or with the gouache.  Anyhow, that's what I'm doing...and the above is how it's going so far: not terrible...but not great either..

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Tides of Fashion

The second in a series of originals finds another strange bather in the surf.

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Tides of War...

It's a series of originals this week.  The sun, the surf and the strange have infiltrated my sketchbook this week. Enjoy!

Friday, July 13, 2012

A Bath in the Sun

A final look at the bathing beauties for this week...Have a good weekend...

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Another time...Another seaside...

As the temperature continues to climb...our second lovely lady by the seaside.

Monday, July 09, 2012

By the Sea...

As it's summer, and things are apparently hot all over, though I'd do a series of bathing beauties this week.  The first is of one of those swimsuits that always had me wondering why there weren't more reports of drowning.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Death Laid an Egg

The final Screen Siren of the Sixties is Sweden's own Ewa Aulin.  Aulin, a teen beauty pageant winner, starred in a slate of European and American films.  She's perhaps best known for her lead role in...oh...I did it again, didn't I? More Terry Southern, I guess...she was the lead in the film adaptation of Terry Southern and Mason Hoffenberg's Candy (1967), which garnered her a nomination at the Golden Globes.  Personally, she first caught my eye in the surreal Italian thriller Death Laid an Egg (La Morte ha Fatto L'uovo, 1968) by Giulio Questi, director of the equally bizarre Spaghetti Western Django Kill...If You Live Shoot! (Se Sei Vivo Spara!, 1967).

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

A Very Grand Guy

Our Screen Siren of the Sixties series couldn't be complete without an appearance by Raquel Welch.  Welch, née Jo Raquel Tejada, had a string of bit parts before becoming a star with Fantastic Voyage in 1966, but she's probably best known for the endless reproductions as the cavewoman in the fur bikini from One Million Years B.C. (1966).  I'm partial to her (apart from the obvious reasons) for starring in two of my favorite comedies: Bedazzled (1967) and The Magic Christian (1969)...though I shouldn't say starred in The Magic Christian as she's one of a dozen hilarious cameos from the film from which I drew the above image.  My drawing of Terry Southern from a week or two back helped influence the choice.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Secret Agent Super Dragon

This weeks it's Screen Sirens of the Sixties, starting with Marisa Mell. Born in Austria as Marlies Theres Moitzi, Marisa was a sexy staple of the European genre cinema of the 60's and 70's.  She is perhaps best known for playing Diabolik's sultry squeeze Eva in Mario Bava's fantastic Danger: Diabolik! (1968). This quickie was from an onset photo...I'm particularly proud of the li'l black kitty she's holding.