Friday, April 20, 2012

Gravity Painting #5: This One Deserves a Title

One of the reasons I made the previous paintings was to hone my understanding of how each type of paint would interact with specific supports to prepare myself to do this piece.  That isn't to say that they were 'just' tests.  They weren't.  If they were, I would have been a lot more methodical.  And, a lot more boring.  I am quite capable of doing experiment matrices with various compounds.  They were not that.  But, I knew I had this piece coming up.  And, I knew that if I wanted any chance of it succeeding on my terms, that I would need to understand what I was working with before I got to it.

The first gravity painting was done a long time ago, and has since been divided into its component pieces and sent to its new owners.  I had to reacquaint myself to these techniques.  I also had no idea how different brands of paint would behave.  I certainly didn't have time to formulate my own acrylics. One thing I did know was that when I did gravity painting 1.5 (which was a colossal failure and *may* eventually be shown here), was that unprimed tan canvas made a horrible support, and probably won't last as long as primed canvas.  The paint beaded up on it, and it just made me feel like I ate too many potato chips when I worked on it.  Bleech.

So, I needed a background color on primed canvas first.

Here it is.  It's 8'x5'. Again, click on images to enlarge.

You'll notice at one side it is really dark.  (it's the bottom of the finished piece, looks like the top from this view)  That is Golden's dioxane purple.  It is very pigment heavy compared to the Liquitex paint I used years ago.  Too intense for this piece.  Fortunately, I had a happy accident while painting this in my garage, and spilled a little water on part of the canvas.  When I blotted it up, it pulled a bunch of color as well.  I then intentionally threw water on this part and got this result.  I like how it adds depth.  Reminds me of some of the background effects in Roger Dean's earlier work

On the lower right of the above image, you'll see this.  It was originally a ton of golden metallic paint, that I then blotted up with a paper towel to give it texture.  I then dry brushed it with red the next day, resulting in this.  It reminds me of a Chinese color scheme and makes me think of the wonderful tradition of Red Envelopes.  Because we used to live in Vancouver BC, it evoked memories of parts of that city and some friends I worked with there.

This part of the canvas is in the middle bottom of the above image (it's actually in the top center of the piece when it is hung up correctly).  Following my method of mixing color on the canvas directly, I had a bit too much on this part of the canvas.  I didn't want to risk the canvas buckling when it dried.  So, I covered it with a paper towel, and this time jumped all over it with my shoes on.  Then, worrying that the tread was trademarked, I brushed some of the texture away with the paper towel.

I was going to blend all of the colors in here like the rest of the price.  But, when I started to do this, I saw this pattern emerge and had to keep it.

This section of painting took place at a Living Art party.  Here is how the high frequency gravity lines were laid down.  I had a volunteer model first put on a swimming cap, and then she chose a pose that integrated well with the existing background.  She remained motionless for about an hour and a half!  Everything else about the piece was typical of how I would work a piece.  This was the first time I had an audience for this style.  I've done body painting before, but this was more dramatic.

Arm Detail

When I photographed this, I was really impressed with the sculpted shape of these lines.  I lowered the lights to accentuate the curves on these lines.

Reminds me of Eddie Van Halen's guitar pattern from the mid 80s.  Why my pieces keep reminding me of rock related stuff is beyond me.

A lot of the detail shots look like they come from completely different pieces.  I like the variation from part to part in my work.

I really like how the background blur on this image makes the blue line appear to float above the canvas.  I'm considering making a piece, photographing it and then destroying it. Then only selling prints of the photo details.  Maybe I'll never release the establishing shot, just let it remain a mystery.

A smudge where the model got up.  I really love how these colors mixed together.  All such things are an integral part of the piece.

During photography of this piece, Max looked on with confusion as to why he couldn't walk on the painting.

Final piece.  (edited) Now resides with a private collector.  It was sold with proceeds going to charity.

Finally, I added my signature:

Friday, April 13, 2012

Gravity Painting #4

Happy Friday the 13th!  Thought I'd post a shot of  something that looked good, but was unlucky in its drying process.  The thick blue horizontal stripes shrunk when they dried, making divots in the canvas.  If the canvas was stretched, it may not have been so bad.  Glad I found this out before using this paint on a really large piece!

This painting was done on 3/25/2012.  I thought I'd try a few new tools for this gravity painting, along with some different brands of paint.  Below are the tools I tried.  Notice that both blenders have cardboard masks attached to keep the paint flying in only one direction.  I wasn't very impressed with the effect, but I really like what the egg beater and the wire tongs with black handles can do.

Here is the start of laying down the Background colors with my faithful assistant, Ms. R.
 After blending these colors a bit.  I assure you that Ms. R is not picking her nose in this shot.  Just scratching it.
 The thin, small splatters are what happens when you spin the eggbeater really fast.  In other shots, when you see a wobbly thin line, it is either from the egg beater, or from the tongs.
The result from a Restuarant Ketchup container, filled with partially mixed acrylic, paints and additional medium.  It reminds me of what chefs do with chocolate drizzlings that are then pulled off wax paper & used for decoration.
 The result of applying the top layer of paint before the background is dry, then hitting it with a dry brush.  It's an effect that could be used to one's advantage, but it doesn't work well in this piece.
 This is why I only partially mix some paints when they are loaded into the ketchup containers.  I loke the depth and complexity shown in the paint.

Background blending brushes drying after cleaning.

Here is the final piece, poorly stitched together in Photoshop (next time I'll bring a ladder).
Seriously, click on the image for detail :)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Gravity Painting #3

Today's Gravity Painting test was a learning success, but the piece did not come together as I would have liked.

Things learned:
  • Plastic ketchup bottles that you find at burger restaurants are wonderful for this type of painting
    • However, watering down your paint can cause unwanted textures and bubbles.
    • Adding paint into the bottle without fully mixing it causes some nice effects
  • Pre-gessoed canvas get wrinkled and has other problems when you tear it
Take a look at the detail shots.  I think they look better than the overall piece, which is shown last.
Again, click on images for larger versions.

Finally, the entire picture.  Could the two background tarps be causing the disjointed work on the canvas?  Possibly. 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Gravity Painting "X" (Happy Easter)

This is the general madness that takes place here at Studio 612.  As always, click on images to enlarge.

Just another gravity painting test, right?

Wrong!  It's Easter Egg coloring time here!

I really like this one.  Almost looks like an angry bunny.

This one looks like it's yolk is on the outside

Drying inside

R takes a break after all the hard work assisting me.

And, then she finishes off the evening with a much more traditional way to prepare for Easter....

Seriously though, I wanted to test these paints out on a big supply of unprimed canvas that I received.  I don't know if the canvas was treated with a waterproofing agent, but it certainly seems that way.  The paint beaded up when it hit it.  That made it react a lot differently than the other canvas I had been using.  Not sure I like the result, but it's good to know what it does.  I also heard that painting directly on unprimed canvas can ruin the lifespan of a piece of work.  So, I likely won't do this in the future.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Enabled "Adult Content" Setting

Just a quick note:  I enabled the "Adult Content" setting for this site. 

The reason is that in a post coming up shortly, I will be doing gravity painting and body painting simultaneously.  The painting is done. The photos (and videos) have been taken. The post is in the works.  If looking at another human being lying on a canvas nude and having paint strewn across her is offensive to you, (or if you are under 18 and not under the supervision of your parents or if it is not legal in your state to do so under the age of 18) then please stop following this blog.


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Gravity Painting #2

Today I made a new gravity painting.  This is gravity painting number two, on wood panel.  Physical elements that had a contributing effect this time include a bit of wind, but mostly a light misting of Pacific Northwest rain (of course, without the sunlight & gravity, these wouldn't be possible at all.  But you knew that already).  You can see it's effects in one of the details of blue paint.
Please click on the paintings for a larger view.

This detail shows how different types of paint have different properties. Same blue, different thickness.  The color change is from a Pacific Northwest misting.

 This detail shows the process a bit. I don't always end the strokes on the canvas.

Another detail showing different paint thicknesses. Paint is still drying, this may look quite different in a few days

Upper left detail. After making several white paint gravity strokes, I then used a dry brush to move the paint around, resulting in this higher frequency area.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Gravity Painting #1

This was the first gravity painting I did, about two years ago.  It was part of the "Pay it Forward" Facebook art meme.  Inspired by the documentary,"Who the #$&% Is Jackson Pollock?", I made the triptych, and then sent each piece to someone in a different state.  I waited until this year to pursue this style more seriously.  I've since made a total of 5 official gravity paintings, with an additional one that was mostly a failed experiment.  More to come soon.

Please click on the images to enlarge.