Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Portrait of Carl Zimmer

For the most recent installment of The Primate Diaries I was asked to paint a portrait of author Carl Zimmer.  The portrait is painted with Gauche and Acrylic paint on a 140 LB Arches hot press watercolor paper. 

The first step in any portrait I do is to define the entire image in line with a complete drawing.  This drawing will be painted over and none of it will become part of the finished artwork but it serves two purposes.  During this stage I am exploring Mr. Zimmer’s face learning it with every line and mark that I put down I am also creating a rode map of structure, value and design, always mindful of the paint that will be layered on top.

The next step for me is strictly about blocking in shape and value.  I am laying down blocks of paint in basic shapes that I see in the face using the sketch I am painting on as well as previous sketches and any reference photos I am using. With every shape I put down I am comparing it to all of the other values I have put down paying close attention to my darkest dark and lightest light knowing that all values are only relative to the other values placed on the paper.

I have now gone into those shapes and found more and more shapes inside the larger shapes putting all of the values together like a puzzle. At this point I lay in the largest blocks of color (the hair, coat and background) based on the value of those areas all of the values in the face could change.  I am now comparing the face and determining if the values and colors laid in are the right ones for this painting in this case the background value changes three times before I was happy.

I now go in to the details that make this painting complete with a smaller brush and just a bit of color pencil. I am using pencil mostly on the shirt and coat creating a look that blurs the line between painting and drawing inspired by illustrators from the 1960s such as Robert Weaver and Austin Briggs

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Mental Health

This illustration is for the primate diaries this week.  The chimp is drawn with ink and wash but the background is created with a type of paint called Casein paint. Derived from milk casein, is a fast-drying, water-soluble medium. It generally has a glue-like consistency, but can be thinned with water to the degree that fits a particular artist's style and desired result. It can be used on canvas panels, illustration boards, paper, wood and Masonite but here I am using it in 4 ply Bristol board. Casein paint is reworkable and can be used for underpainting. It generally dries to a matte finish. This was the paint of choice for illustrators prior to the 1960s but once Acrylic came to be most illustrators dropped Casein paint but I think I will be exploring it more in the near future.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

occupy wall street

I was down at Zuccotti Park recently and decided to do some sketches. Ironically I found there to be many Wall Street types occupying Wall Street.

This young twenty something year old was more interested in checking his blackberry then protesting, most likely on his lunch break. Lets call this guy the lunch break protester a nice young guy a few years out of Grad School trying to remain youthful wanting to appear as if he is still part of some pseudo hippie culture but knows that if he gets back late from lunch he will be fired and his parents will be so mad they might stop paying for that blackberry or iphone he’s texting his girlfriend on.

The guy next to him was more interested in the 9/11 memorabilia that is sold on a constant basis at the construction of the Freedom Tower just another stop these days for the holiday season NY tourists

As you can see from this Sketch WORKERS ARE SLAVES well at least as far as that middle-aged woman is concerned as she stands there and preaches to the hipsters and homeless.

This guys walks by and stops for a second to see this sideshow attraction on his way to a very important meeting at the brokerage firm he works for...he looks at his pocket-watch like the white rabbit in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. He realizes he is late and he is then off to rob and steal.

Epilogue: I then left and got a dirty water dog for $2.50 I remember when they were a $1 well that’s capitalism for you.