29 May 2009

1956 Ford Fairlane en Plastique


20" x 26", watercolour on Yupo, 2009

When I saw this car on Queen Street a few years ago, I was so happy to have my camera with me. This Ford Fairlane is awesome: shiny red paint job, chrome, curves...it may be a horrible, gas-guzzling behemoth, but it's still a car with a ton of charm and personality design-wise and very fun to paint.


27 May 2009

Black Pontiac and GTO en Plastique

1963 Pontiac Parisienne, private collection


1969 Pontiac GTO
both: 20" x 26", watercolour on Yupo, 2009

A couple more cars done from reference I shot around Toronto over the years. For my first few car paintings I concentrated on their fronts, but I have multiple photos of most of these and some from interesting reverse angles, so maybe, one day, I'll diversify these "portraits" with some new views. Maybe make a calendar, or something...

Apparently, that GTO is also a Pontiac, but I don't know the name/model of the black one. I do find it kinda weird, though, that most of the interesting vintage cars I shot around town just happen to be Pontiacs.



25 May 2009

Wind Farm en Plastique


20" x 26", watercolour on Yupo, 2009

Here are a few clean energy windmills on a wind farm from a photo I found on the Internet.
Enjoy!

The tricky part of this painting was to give it enough contrast to separate the white windmills from the light blue sky --but I didn't want to make the sky too dark. I played around a lot with shadows, paint spatters, and wiping away paint from the windmills until I achieved a balance I liked.


22 May 2009

Aisha en Plastique

20" x 26", watercolour on Yupo, 2009

Since my primary interest in painting is the figure (and I still have tons of figurative photo ref to work from and re-interpret), I thought I should try one on Yupo. Immediately, I realized that my usual glazing technique for flesh tones would have to change: I had to mix appropriate colours in various intensities so that glazing was at a minimum (as each time I ran the brush over a dry area, I risked wiping that away) while still letting the paint do what it wanted. Another chaotic element (along with colour mixing on the surface in unpredictable ways): I've discovered that the various surfaces in my studio (including the floor!) aren't perfectly level, so the paint tends to pool in the direction of the downward tilt, so now laying the paper down facing a certain direction (and sometimes rotating it, so the paint pools where I'd like it to) while the paint dries is part of the process. It's complicated, but exciting. And you can always subtract paint.


20 May 2009

Pontiac and Oldsmobile en Plastique

1971 Pontiac LeMans20" x 26", watercolour on Yupo, 2009


1949 Oldsmobile Deluxe Coupe
20" x 26", watercolour on Yupo, 2009, private collection

I'll be showing a number of my new watercolour-on-plastic paintings in the upcoming SpeakEasy Drawing and Painting Show in June (details in this post), and these cars will definitely be part of the show.

I love rendering metal -especially chrome (whether it's in colour or black and white), and Yupo is pretty amazing for doing this since you can just wipe away areas you want to be white, and with the narrow edge of a brush, the results can be nicely convincing. Along with the interesting and sexy shapes and curves older cars have (compared to modern cars which are more aerodynamic and more fuel-efficient but visually boring), I like their inherent reflectivity and shininess (the hood of the top car is a perfect example of this) which is also fun to render.


13 May 2009

Schwanen and Krista en Plastique



both: 20" x 26", watercolour on Yupo, 2009

Without trying to sound like an advertisement or paid endorsement ('cause it's not), another thing I like about Yupo is that once the paint is dry, you can erase the bits you don't want. A pefect example in this painting is the swan's neck: there was some overlap of paint where the front of the neck "touches" the water and I wanted clear delineation, so I used a bit of clear water on my brush and simply wiped away the paint, creating a sharp edge. The same goes for the highlights in the beak, the water in both paintings, the clouds, and the top of Krista's arm (among other fiddlybits).

To the right of the swan you can see I'm beginning my experimentation with spattering clear water on the paint as it dries on the surface, creating a mottling effect. More of this is seen in my car paintings. Also, on the left and right are some experiments with making the paint run and letting the streaks dry.

The swan's title is cheeky; I shot the reference for this in Vancouver's Stanley Park a few years ago and not while I was in Switzerland just over a year ago --I actually almost made that mistake because I really liked a certain place in Lucerne called Schwanenplatz.

The reference for Krista was shot while canoeing at a friend's cottage a few years ago. I'm including this painting to the post to help demonstrate how very cool water looks when rendered on this surface because the paint looks like it's still wet, fluid and likely to flow unpredictably to undesired areas --of course, this effect (like most paintings) looks much better in person.


11 May 2009

Auto en Plastique


20" x 26", watercolour on Yupo, 2009

Ever since I started painting, I looked at my watercolour palette and was fascinated by the strange and interesting ways the colours would dry on its plastic surface. Some time later, I saw a display for Yupo synthetic "paper" in an art store that someone had painted on with some watercolours --not an image, really, but abstract colour mixing which looked a lot like my palette. Interest piqued, I bought a few sheets and tried one out immediately.

The results were interesting but, as I expected, there was a bit of a struggle getting the paint to do what I wanted --or at least what I was used to with regular watercolour paper. The biggest difference is that regular watercolour paper is absorbent and Yupo is not, so I had to come up with a new way of painting. The results are strange and fantastic, yet still watercolour-y, and I love how my brushes glide over the smooth surface like skates on ice so, a few years after my first attempt, I recently went back into the studio with some aching-to-be-used photo ref and resumed experimentation with the Yupo.

I knew it would be hard to control, so I accepted the chaos and had fun. After a few paintings, I was really starting to loosen up (something this paper encourages, if not enforces) and this car painting set the standard of how I like and need to paint on this surface.


07 May 2009

Carmen (white)


40" x 30", oil on canvas, 2008, private collection


This is the colour-and-style test companion to the previous painting.

This time it's based on a picture from a photo shoot of Ashley in which I dressed her up in Carmen's dress from the opera of the same name. I was briefly working as an opera costumer and had access to many great period costumes, but didn't really have many opportunities to co-ordinate models to play dress-up for my camera.

Again, the shadows are interesting, especially in the skirt part with those amazing folds, and I like the way the fan is hiding her face, but it's just nowhere near as dramatic as the colour version from this shoot (or even the one B&W ink painting), but it's still nice and moody.


01 May 2009

Aisha with Camera (white)


40" x 30", oil on canvas, 2008

This is the most recent painting I've done featuring the Kodak Duaflex, again using extreme lighting to highlight the camera rather than the model.

I deliberately wanted to keep the colours very limited here (and another painting I did concurrently) so that it would push me out of my comfort zone, colourwise. Yes, it's effectively "black and white" (nothing new for me there; just click on the tag below for "ink painting"), but the choice of blue shadows/form with a bit of the blue and green underpainting showing through, taught me quite a lot about restraint, colour, and forcing me to see things a little differently.
This monochromatic and white-heavy approach was also a bit of a test for a CD cover painting I was planning (which turned out well, but a little different from this).