It has been a long journeyand now the painting is starting to come alive. Now I have to work on the people, some textures, the snake, the water and other special effects.
I am using W&N Artisan color tubes but I am starting to use the Cobra brand too. W&N colors are rich and intensive but the Cobra are more fatty and dry slower. I use red sables and mongoose ones. I hope the companies making these brushes are treating these animals well. Watermixable oils are really a challenge they dry really fast compare to real oils, but I was so happy not to use turpentine and harmul cleaning stuff anymore. I had to research a lot this type of oil in other to handle it well.
For the color layer I have to spend lot time studying modern and old masters technique. In this voyage I came to the discovery of the work of great painters that at my university studies were neglected and ignored. In the 80's if you were not doing abstract concept expressionist you were not a good painter. So ironic that now Realism and Craftsmanship is a hip in the Contemporary Movement were groups like Stuckism International which promote the figurative and representational style and against the destructive Dada anti-art movement that damaged a lot the craftsmanship and produced as a result meaningless monetary commodities like the ones showed by the Young British Artist Group. The cause of the Suckism is plausible but looking to their work I generally see no craft in their members so it falls sometimes into Naïve Art. My proposal is not new Dali started the hole thing back them, but somewhere he went totally nuts. That is where the illustration guys doing fantatisc art came to rescue, putting craftsmanship of the old masters back on the table put given the painting a concept, a meaning, and usually a message and some of them even they acomplish the difficult task of telling a story in on single frame. But a meaning with a strong statement and dramatism, as Michelangelo, Dore, Rembrant, Van Gogh, Goya, Caravaggio, Bierstadt, Frazetta, Tobey and others gave to their work.
So in this matter I had to study the work of the best of the best for me in (just a few, the list is big)
Landscape: (Courbet, Monet, Manet, Hudson River School, Calame, Mostead,de Haes, Shishkin-Sarasov-Repin-Levitan, Schmid, Polenov, Vreedenburgh, Van Gogh, etc
For the Dead Layer I am using a technique I called Multicolor Dead Layer. So I used 4 different types of grays: One for the Sky and distance elements: Blue Gray One for the near foliage: Normal Gray or Grisaille One for the close up foliage and green red eyes toad: Red Gray One for the orchid: Verdaccio
1.Though was interesting to do I believe now I can skip this layer for my next projects. I have to make sure to have light values of umber in those areas where I dont want to much umber to be underneath like the sky for example so when cover them with transparent glaces I get the right colors. Besides cutting this step will cut a lot of time on the final process. I now other painters like Sargent and Bouguereau didnt use it so it is possible.
On this layer I started using a techinque I called Multicolor Umber Underpainting. Which means that instead of using one single mix of umber I used different hues of umbers according to the elements on the painting. So for the folliage I used a more greenish umber, for the background element a more light and gray umber, for the forground I used more intense and dark umbers, for the sky a more blueish umber. I you can see I went over and increase the contrast of all the elements and rubout some more.
In this layer I completed the textures of some elements like the boa constrictor and the jaguars for example.
So this is the final step on the Underpainting
Stage. I will let the painting dry for one week before I start the
Color layers. On this Umber layer I just applied darker values of the
umber hues. Everyday I will take the painting
outside for some time to be in direct contact with the sun, the way the
old masters did in the Renaissance, besides drying faster there are
some chemical reactions by doing this. The concept of this piece is not a
mystery anymore, so I will give you the name too: "My Home is Gone!".
Yes this is an Enviromental-Protest painting. I hope my worry , sadness
and anger is well reflected in it. I recently read that the golden frog
has vanished, I hope our jaguars and toucans find a Shangri-La inside
those forests to hide forever. I grew up in a small town called La Cruz
in Costa Rica. Back then you needed to walk 10 minutes to be in the
jungle. By looking at satellite pictures now, you might need to invest
one hour or more to see the deep rainforest. One day in our town's
school, our elementary teacher took us to an empty plain near our
village. The purpose of that trip was to plant some trees. She taught us
a new word: "Reforestacion". To my surprise those trees are still there
today, but surrounded by a lifeless desert. Walking back to the school,
we passed by "el aserradero" ( Sawmill) where we saw the life of
hundred of trees had been cut away. That day my life changed.
Now that the painting is almost finished I realized the important of the umber underpainting it is really in deed the thing that holds the whole painting. Practically old the work is there all you need to do is match the right colors with the its right values following the value mapping already in place and if you continue with glacing and leaving some areas of this layer to be seen the piece come in rich chromatic illuminations.
After applying a coat of Bruno Imprimatura I applied a technique I borrowed from Frank Covino (The Rubout) so with a rag, fingers and kneaded eraser I sculpted with light the forms to bring out the 3d effect in them. In this step I am trying to model surfaces so not much worry about textures, the next layer will take care of that.
1. Next time use a lighter value for the Rubout coat mix.
2. Next time remove more of the umber layer on areas where light colors and colors like blue, violet and pink are going to be.
The figure was inspired
by the character Jaguar Paw in the Mel Gibson film Apocalypto and the
Mayan people from Central America. He is wearing a golden eagle
accessory (someone close to my used too). On the top corner you can see a
plant with a flower. It is the Costa Rican national flower called
Guaria Morada. Another piece of my land in the work. What you see now is
the process taken by the Florence painters called Bruno Imprimatura the
Italian for first glaze of brown. In this case I am using Burnt Umber,
Raw Umber + Lemon Yellow, a tip given by Frank Covino.
Hi all, some of you know that I have been working
really hard in a new painting called "My Home Gone". I would like to share with you now its process. I spent a lot of time doing research before the first pencil sketches. Most of the elements are from own imagination, obviously I went through a length of reference material (photos,drawings, videos, etc) and anatomic and structural studies to draw the elements from of trees, animals,tractor, pyramid, to plants....yes that means not tracing photos. What I always try to do is memorize the element (its 3d form, textures and colors) and move it around in my head in the position I want it for the scene. In some cases I used a toy model (jaguar mother) but because the model was not in the position I wanted I had to reflect the model in my head, adjust the head and body and fix that image in my mind and then draw it from there. In the case of the Mayan aborigen I looked a lot of true mayan people from Central America, also see over and over the movie "Apocalipto" and finally took pictures of myself for anatomic accuracy but obviously that final figure is not me (I dont have that conan look).
An extensive attention was put into perspective, proportions, and composition, specially the organic flow (dynamics and rhythm) of center of attention. The big risk is accuracy, though hyperralistic painting are very accurate (and difficult to accomplish) the drawing, lighting and colour mapping is already there, when you draw and paint something that you are not seen then that's is a big challenge, specially the lighting.
Beside been inspired by the obvious: the painting's theme, I wanted to study the techniques of the old masters from the Renaissance to modern day masters. So for this painting I am going using many layers.
After the drawing was transfer to the linen I carefully sculpt using a special mix (primer + marble dust) those elements were I wanted to increase the 3d feeling. After that I redraw the carbon lines with Pen&Ink drawing on the linen canvas.
Lessons Learnt: 1. Don't use black ink, instead use different grades of sepia. Reason: It is really hard to cover them if you want to use transparent layers especially in the light values. 2. Though sculpt those figures was fun and set the figures in true relief I am not going to use this technique anymore the Trompe-l'oeil has to come from the Chiaroscuro.