Friday, December 18, 2009

Blue Painting

The past couple of self portraits I've painted in oil were all painted with the same palette. I know that having a consistent palette is good but it was getting a little boring. Because I was becoming a little formulaic, all of my skin tones looked the same. When I started this painting I was going to focus on painting more thinly than I usually do. I was hoping to work it slower. It was going ok but when I got to the first wip here I really liked the way everything was a little green. It looked very different than anything I usually do. I went ahead and painted this self portrait with a different color range than my usual paintings. Its hard to tell but it actually uses the same palette as my other paintings but a little more focused on the blue and brown side of things. My disclaimer for this painting is that it looks terrible in the photo. Its much too washed out. You will just have to ask me to show you this painting in life to get a good look at it.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

3D Modeling

I just completed my 3D modeling class at Drexel. The object of the course was to familiarize students with Maya's modeling, lighting and texturing capabilities. This was my first experience with Maya and any 3d package. The final project was to create scene for a character to inhabit. The character I chose was a painter and my final scene was the painter's studio. The models were created in Maya while the textures were created in Illustrator and Photoshop. The first image is a screenshot from Maya.

The rest are renders of different angles of the scene. I used Mental Ray as the render engine and they took about two to five hours to render.

I spent a substantial amount of time setting this scene up. The lamp itself, with all the trial and error of different techniques, took close to 30 hours. All I can do is speculate how long the entire scene took to model, texture, and light but I would say it is easily around 50 hours, not including the lamp or the render times.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Viola da Gamba 2

A couple of posts back I showed an illustration I painted for a Viola da Gamba teacher. As is usual for my illustration I do several sketches preliminary sketches. The one the client ended up choosing was the stag. I did a dragon as well that I thought was interesting so I finished it up for myself. You'll notice the music notes floating around and above the character. When I originally did the sketches none of them included music notes. The idea came to me as I was finishing up the stag so I thought I'd throw them in because I thought it looked good. When I showed the final to the client, they didn't really like the notes. They weren't historically accurate to the vdg.

Luckily, I had put them on a separate layer so I just had to go back into Photoshop and turn that layer off. The moral of the story: stick to the sketches when doing the final image. Since this was a personal piece I could add whatever I felt like regardless of history.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Poster Contest

The Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts and Design (Drexel's design school, and the one I am currently attending) had a call for poster designs. This is my entry.

I started out by trying some Graphic Design tricks by getting photos and arranging them creatively and applying Illustrator and Photoshop filters on them. The results were less than impressive and I got a little discouraged. I thought about it for a bit and realized graphic design isn't my strong point. I really don't know much about it. My strengths lie in drawing and (occassionly) painting. I pulled out my sketch book and started making up an abstract thumbnail.

I thought about Drexel and what it was all about. Drexel's mascot is a Dragon so I started with that. I had taken a photo of a sculpture at the Ringling Museum in Sarasota and really liked it. It is an angel looking upward. In this case I was thinking of angels symbolizing victory, success, and achievement, all things that a school would want to promote. I also put in some skulls, I just like drawing skulls. The lines were all in ink with Steadler pens (the best) on some hot pressed (or is it cold pressed, whichever the smooth kind is) heavy paper, I think the brand was Canson. After photographing it I brought it into Illustrator and live painted it to get a vector version of the drawing. From there I started adding color. I kept fairly graphic feel with the palette kind of like a Dr. Seuss book. (or at least what I remember it to look like, I haven't opened one in years)Unfortunately it was a race against the clock because the poster was due that day. From when I started to completion it took me about 8 hours. I would have liked to spend another 8 hours to get it where I really wanted it but I am satisfied with the results.

Voting on the entries starts next term and I am going to post the link here when it opens up.

November Paintings

Both of these paintings I completed last month but only now have I had the chance to photograph them. I have been painting fairly small lately. Nothing has been over six or seven inches. Working in the same scale is getting a little boring for me. All of my small brushes have spread out and become nearly unusable. This has lead me to using brushes that are at least half an inch wide. Its good for simplifying the forms and planes but I can't get any detail or refinement.

I have almost always worked the same way. Toned ground painted thinly with a fairly neutral color followed by non-thinned oils. I use fairly thick applications of paint in large strokes. It is the way I was taught. I've been playing around with the idea of a more deliberate and thinned approach. I don't know if I'll go all the way to glazing but thinner paint might make for more extended painting sessions. I can't seem to carry any kind of momentum for longer than an hour and a half to two hours. That might also be a scale issue but I don't think so. The self portraits I did back in April only took a little more than a couple of hours and they were significantly bigger.

In other news, I found this blog by the illustrator, James Gurney. He is known for his work on the Dinotopia books and another book he wrote Imaginative Realism. Every day he posts really interesting articles about being an artist, painters and illustrators of the past, and other really interesting stories. Definitely worth following if you are into artists, painting, or illustration.