Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Homo Geomyidae

A friend of mine recently graduated from the local "digital arts" college with aspirations of being a modeler (for video games and movies and the like). Among the tools that he was constantly blabbing about was a program called ZBrush. What made it stick out in my mind was him telling me one day, in a very matter-of-fact way, that I'd probably love said program. Well, for whatever reason I dismissed it entirely; probably not wanting to dedicate any more time learning the in's and out's of a newfangled computer program. He did mention that it was a lot like sculpting with clay, so I probably dismissed it because I'd rather sit down with an actual clump of clay to make something happen.

With that being said however, something came over me the other night and I actually looked into
what this program could do. Admittedly I was blown away. So I got my hands on a trial version of the program and started playing around. After about half an hour of hacking away at the preloaded sphere, this is what I came up with - Gopher Boy. I'm pretty sure I'll be experimenting a lot with this program in the coming days, weeks, and months; I'm equally sure that I'll be sharing some of the more precious gems here, with you. Until then, happy painting. Or drawing. Or sculpting with digital clay.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Art as a Science: Part 2

Continuing the exploration of medium versus surface - this time around the medium changed. Last time galkyd was my medium, this time around it's a concoction that I read about that supposedly what J.C. Leyendecker used. Again, all four paintings are oil on linen canvas with the same variation in surface treatments applied. Like the last round, I think the third and fourth panels were the best surfaces to work on, with the second taking a close second. In last place would be panel number one, which is just way too rough (almost like painting on rough sandpaper) for my tastes.

I introduced another condition to these tests this time around; I didn't work on any single one for more than an hour. It forced me to make snap decisions and not get too precious with the results - plus it just lets me get more done (and information collected) in a shorter amount of time. To that end I really limited my palette for this go; titanium white, ivory black, yellow ochre, and cadmium red. The interesting thing I glimpsed was how versatile that limited palette is.

Now that my samples on linen are complete, I plan on trying out the same set up on four different surfaces; heavy weight cotton canvas, light weight cotton canvas, canvas paper, and illustration board. Based on what I know, I think heavy weight cotton duck will be a similar surface to the linen, but I'm curious as to how it differs exactly. Hopefully I'll be getting those done in the next couple of weeks.

See you next time, I've got sketches to finish.

All paintings: Oil on linen. 5" x 5".

Thursday, August 5, 2010


A friend of mine decided to learn how to make his very own little Moleskine journals, and was gracious enough to ask if I wanted one and if I had any special requests for it. Well, it was just too good to pass up to have a custom little Moleskine; my only request was that it have a medium-dark grey paper. A few weeks after having made the request (and having forgotten about it entirely) it arrived in the mail and it was everything I could have hoped for and more. As I was in love with doing casein studies at the time I decided to start painting in the book right away. The paper that he found performed marvelously! It's heavy enough not to want to warp as I slathered water and paint over it, and toothy enough to just grab the paint right odd the brush. I've only done three little paintings in it so far (I've been distracted by other things, mainly Star Craft II), but it's such a joy to work in - especially for warm-ups before settling in for more serious work.

Each of them is casein on paper and done with a larger-than-necessary brush so that I could ignore pesky little details; though that didn't stop me from trying... There are passages in each of the little paintings that I rather enjoy, and leaving as much of the paper showing through as possible has been a fun challenge. At any rate, enjoy. And as always, thanks for reading!

Casein on paper. Roughly 4" x 5".

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Art as a Science: Part 1

In my last post I stated that I had done some follow ups to my experimentation on linen canvas. This represents the first batch. I couldn't decide if it was the canvas, the medium, or the gesso that made working on that stretched linen canvas so pleasurable, so as any good O.C.D. patient would, I set about to systematically test each of the different variables.

For all four paintings are on linen canvas and I used galkyd as my medium. The only factor that was changed from painting to painting was the way that each sample was sealed: the first sample was sealed with clear gesso that was brushed on; the second was sealed with clear gesso that was scraped on; the third was sealed with two layers of white gesso and one layer of clear, all scraped on; and the last was sealed with three layers of white gesso, again scraped on. (I should probably go over what I mean when I say scraping on gesso in a later post.)

For my money, I think the third and fourth samples have the best surface, with the second coming in at a pretty close second. The first sample, with it's brushed on gesso, was a surface that proved to be far too rough and far to difficult to manage. It would probably be best when used with either thicker paint (perhaps an impasto) or a palette knife, as any level of detail is difficult to obtain.

Even though they're all small and quick studies that were used primarily as a tools test, I'm pretty satisfied with the results. I don't recommend using polaroids as reference, however. I'll post round two in the coming days.

All paintings: Oil on linen. 5" x 5".