28 February 2011

The Damage is Done

22" x 15", watercolour, 1998, private collection

Drapery is tricky: keeping track of all the folds and wrinkles, making sure the highlights and shadows are accurate (or, at least, correct enough to be convincing as drapery) is a challenge that I enjoy, but haven't confronted too often. In my current series of portraits, clothing is usually an integral part of the picture, adding much to the story of the characters in the paintings, and I feel obligated to be as truthful about their clothing as I am about their faces.

There's no real trick to rendering drapery other than simply keeping track (as mentioned) of the folds and wrinkles; it can't be a random mess of curves and lines --it has to make sense, and lighting is very important, helping to describe and separate the shapes. Call it fastidious attention to detail, but I consider it simply paying attention.

In the painting above, the model is enshrouded in a bedsheet I was using as my tablecloth at the time. High threadcount for the kitchen!

The title comes from a Juliana Hatfield song called "Universal Heart-Beat" from her Only Everything CD, but I'm sure she was, in turn, influenced by Neil Young.


20 February 2011

Art and Lindy (Green Chair)

40" x 30", oil on canvas, 2008

Continuing the theme of portraiture, but somewhat randomly, here's one of a couple of friends I did a few years back. I had the idea for this series after doing a photoshoot with a friend; one of the shots had him sitting on one of our green chairs, his wardrobe a long-sleeved shirt and jeans. That he was barefoot caught my interest --only the ends of his extremities were exposed. So that became part of the motif for the series (I've only done four so far (and the first one described has sold), but I have a few photos of friends for further Green Chair portraits if I ever get/make the time for them).

I was also trying out something new as far as skin colouration here, choosing to go with non-realistic colours, the chair being the only thing colored "properly." I then superimposed a matrix background but carried it into the figures, rendering them ghostly or hollow, using lighter tones where the figures overlap the background.


07 February 2011

The X-Files

22" x 15", watercolour, 2001

Still thinking about some of my previous portraits while looking through my folders to see what to post next, I zeroed-in on this one of Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny from the TV show "The X-Files." This is actually my third attempt at these two (using different magazine reference photos each time). One of them had a great like ness of Anderson, but Duchovny looked weird, and the other was exactly reversed. I think I got both of them right this time, proving again that persistence is key.

In one of the earlier paintings (or was it both? I really don't remember...), I put an X in the style of the show's logo in the background and painted it with glow in the dark paint, but this time I wanted to be less obviously (or commercially) referential to the show while still making a reference to "The X-Files." I think this solution is still obvious, but somehow more subtle. Maybe that's a paradox. Maybe it's an X-File itself. The truth is out there.