Thursday, February 24, 2011

Self-Portrait as Vitruvian Man - Almost Finished!

So I continued work on the commission for my Self-Portrait as Vitruvian Man today.  I got it to a point very close to done;  it is what I did all day. I spent the first 40 minutes or so working on the face.  I  had the mirror up close so I could see detail.  I first mixed up a light pink, a midtone that had more red and brown in it, and then brushed on the shadows with burnt umber.

The rest of the figure followed in the same way - the shadows brushed on first, and the lights second, in big broad strokes which were then refined.  I worked from the top down and from left to right, so that I would have a place to rest my hand without putting it on the wet paint.

It was also a very cold day today!  The sun was out and shining, but I was chilled to the bone, and as my studio is so large, its impossible to heat.  Hence the robe which I put on whenever I was working on something I didn't have to reveal!

Here I am, contemplating the almost finished painting.

And the painting as it appeared at the end of the day.  On Monday, I will add tone to the background to help bring out the light side, and I will darken some of the shadows on his body.  I couldn't do it today, because the light side is basically just paint and oil, and it does not stick very well to the surface;  any time I add more paint to darken it, it just picks up the paint under.  But the painting is very close to done - I'm thinking no more than a couple of hours of work!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Old Friends And Naked Boys

I went through some of my old photoshoots today, looking for inspiration for some new pieces, and came across this one of two very good friends of mine;  Steven (he is the cute little blond boy, and he appeared here on the blog recently as the naked cupid at my party) and Jesse.  This photo shoot is a few years old;  they were boyfriends at the time, and this was in fact the time that I met Steven!  I took a million photos, but I thought I would share of these pleasant memories with you!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Vitruvian Man Undercoat

I started actually applying paint to the Vitruvian man Self-Portrait today.  It was an rather cool today, so I started out in a sweater (I knew I was going to get naked soon so there wasn't much point in wearing more). I had already drawn the outlines of the figure in brown ink on the paper.  They are very sparse, bare outlines.  Then I mixed up some red ochre and van dyke brown in oil, and put it on in big globs.  I rubbed it into the paper with a rag.  I did this until I got a nice, richly textures surface, with paint sinking into the grooves in the gesso.

Than I moved all the way around in the studio, and set everything up in the other side so the light would be right.  This was kind of an experimental technique, which did not turn out as I had hoped.  I was planning on doing a large part of the painting today, and was going to start painting the skin colors directly onto the wet brown undercoat  When I tried doing this though, the paint picked up the brown coat and left it white on the bottom.  It was not going according to plan.  So I think I need to let this layer dry and come back to work on it early next week.  At any rate, the undercoat looks wonderful;  I think its going to be a beautiful piece!

More Studio Work

I am working on a portrait of my boyfriend right now, which will be a 10 hour pose, most likely.  I am painting him as the Greek god of fidelity in love, which is rather ironic.
Progress tends to be rather slow.

I also started work on the final version of the Vitruvian Man painting.  These photos were taken the day before yesterday;  today, I actually started applying paint.  A couple of days ago, I transfered the study I did last week to the paper.  First I printed the drawing on a large sheet of paper which is the same size as the final painting.  Than I covered the back in black charcoal, laid it over the gessoed paper, and traced the drawing with a sharp point, which effectively works like carbon paper.  Finally, I outlined this tracing with brown ink.  In these photos, I am covering the back of the print out with charcoal.
Today, I laid down a base coat and started painting.  I will write about them in the next post!

Monday, February 7, 2011

More Work on Vitruvian Man

I worked some more (a tiny bit more) on the Vitruvian Man commission today; I am doing something a little different than what I had originally intended.  It was going to be in oil on canvas, but I decided that the 17 inch size I originally specified was too small, and that the weave of the canvas would be to grainy for a finely detailed image.  So instead, I am going to do my painting in oil on paper.  To that end, I am gessoing the paper first, and am going to cover it with a thin film of oil paint in a brown color (maybe Van Dyke brown), and than am going to work wet into wet.  I think I will do this tomorrow or the day after.  For now, here are some photos of that first stage of paper preparation.  I accidentally posted the photos in the wrong order, but I will explain below;
So this photo and the others with the cute boy are of myself with my friend Kale, who is staying with me for a few days before he moves to Hawaii.  I had just finished gessoing in the paper (its a high quality and very stiff watercolor paper) when he got out of the shower, so he sat down to join me and see what I was up to.  He is an old friend and lover, and I am super happy that he is staying with me for a few days!

In this photo and the ones below I have just finished applying the gesso to the paper.  We've been having the most glorious weather here in San Francisco - I thank my stars daily that I live in California!  Hence the state of undress of myself and my friend Kale.

I'll be posting more soon, about this painting and a couple more I am doing of various cute friends.  Check back soon!