And so, it’s finished. And surprisingly it’s dry. Dry enough at least to put a coat of a new type of varnish over it for protection. (Most oils paintings should remain unvarnished for six months to a year to be sure all the thick paint is dry down to the canvas. I’m still not a “thick painter” so my canvases dry faster.) I’ll varnish it tomorrow.
I also built a frame for display purposes. This painting will be displayed and presented at the STARBASE INDY convention this weekend so I wanted it to look nice while on display. Framing is a personal decision so I don’t impose my ideas of a frame onto a client. They can get it framed to their tastes and I’ll reuse this one.
Now I’m at the stage where everything is painted in and I’m looking at the entire canvas, judging balance and looking for small (hopefully) screw-ups to fix and things to adjust. I thought her jacket was looking too blue-ish so I laid a darker glaze over it. (Some of what you see in this photo on both of their coats are shiny reflections from the lights in the studio. Unavoidable with oil paints.)
Speaking of screw-ups, there was an alignment problem with the previous cleavage so I repainted that area.
Much nicer! (ahem, well - moving on…)
The pistol butt I painted yesterday was too large.
Glasses for the gentleman, then some clothes and the beginnings of a gun belt and pistol butt.
The previous session I finished up the hands after I took the close-up shot of the heads.
Today I added the glasses to the female face (I asked first!) then moved on to the costuming.
Now we’re having fun!
Today I started on scumbling in some basic facial modeling, added a thumb and painted the “hogs-leg” sawed off Winchester firearm in the females upraised hand. The facial scumbling is sort of a preliminary feeling out of painting the faces. It will all be lost as soon as I start applying color but I find it a good step to familiarize myself with the faces. I would have gone on to painting the faces but I got distracted by that gun, I wanted to get it done. As it turns out it will be the only gun in the painting. After the line drawing was approved the principals decided the pistol in the man’s hand looked odd out of the holster. I couldn’t change the drawing on the canvas since it has been fixed (sprayed with fixative) then the brown wash applied and there was no point in it anyway, I’ll make the change in the painting stage. To make that hand look more at home I added the thumb hooked into the pants.
The background is just about there. Of course when I get the figures laid in and they begin to develop I may have to go back in and adjust the values of the background again. And when I get back to it tomorrow I’ll probably fiddle with the background for another day.
Becoming less sloppy, marginally.
And so it begins. The first stage is to start placing the darks in the background. Painting from back to front is an accepted method that works best for me. The beginning stages of most paintings look sloppy so don’t panic!
Then other tones are laid in.
This is a new category for the blog. Here I will show the progression of a fantasy portrait. A Fantasy Portrait as I offer them is this; choose a scene from a book, TV show, film or any other area and I will paint you into it using photo reference I shoot or you provide. I’ve done this a few other times. A Farscape portrait, a Space Marine and a few others.
This couple chose the TV show “Firefly” and wanted to be painted as a pair of characters against a shipboard setting. After looking through lots of images from the show I chose the engine room and some representative shots of the characters in costume. From that I developed a starting sketch.
After getting their approval on the sketch (I showed them two different ideas and they chose this one) we set up a photo shoot. They arrived in clothing as close to the character costumes as possible. That’s important as it helps with the lighting on the wrinkles of folds in the clothing. Here are a few of the shots.
After the photos were shot we all three viewed them in the computer (digital photography has made this step so much simpler!) and they chose the shots that best reflected what they wanted for each individual. As almost always happens one shot would be good for one person but not the other and vice versa. Using Photoshop I cut each figure out and placed them together into one image on top of the engine room photo.
From this I developed a line drawing and emailed it to the couple.
After their approval I transferred it to a 3 foot by 4 foot canvas which I had drawn a grid upon for that purpose. I used spray-fix to set the pencil drawing to the canvas in anticipation of the next step.
The engine room scene is an overall brown tone so I made up a thin brown wash and covered the entire canvas.
While waiting for that thin coat to dry sufficiently to paint on I took a shot of the reference stand set up. I use an older Apple laptop and an auxiliary screen to display the reference photos. This set up allows the reference to be back-lit by the light of the screen. Much more satisfactory than a paper print. I also stained a scrap of canvas the same brown to place under my glass mixing palette so the colors mixed there will look the same when placed on the canvas.