Originally published at An Island Where No One Lives. Adapted and edited for inclusion here.
Here's the same canvas after I had managed to get paint all over it. You can see how wet the pigment is by how much it catches the light. You might think that the reddish-black canvas in the back is also wet because it shines, too, but you'd be wrong. It just shines. But trust me, the one front and center is very wet.
I smoothed the paint out as much as I could, gave the canvas a few days to dry, and then it looked like this.
Note that in this picture, the canvas is oriented in Portrait mode. This is how the final work, whatever that might turn out to be, will be oriented. The two pictures showing it in Landscape are oriented such because it's easier to smear paint on a canvas when it is lying down, as it were.
The next step was to wait until some form of inspiration hit. The form that
it took was masking tape. Masking tape is great for making straight edges in
a work; you just line the tape on the canvas, paint up to and over the edge
of the tape, and when you peel the tape off, voila: a straight edge.
However, I didn't want to use tape just to do that. I wanted to create a lattice or framework of some kind, so I put the tape up where it felt "right," whether it was or not. Note that the tape is, for the most part, in the upper part of the canvas (it's actually hard to see that, isn't it? I was focusing the camera somewhat closer than I usually do, so some of the canvas is cropped off at the bottom).
When that was done, I took some time to think about that, about what ought to be placed in (essentially, behind) the lattice. I wanted the lattice to appear somewhat like an enclosure, so I painted an open blue sky over the tape.
And that's where it stands as of today. I'm still not certain, completely certain, about the sky, so I may allow it to stand for a while and then do some more work on it (the lower half in particular bugs me a bit, the upper half I think is quite good).
Patience is a virtue which I can, at times, exercise but sometimes you
just get seized by an idea or notion, and patience is usually the first to
fall. Which is my way of saying that, instead of waiting until Tuesday or
Wednesday to straighten out the lines in the painting (as I said in the last
chapter), I decided to do so last night. The results are pretty successful,
Now comes the real waiting game: courting dame inspiration to help with
the rest of the work.
Here's the latest addition to Paint Blog II.
Changing the pole to a more wooden appearance, separating the ladder from it, and joining the ladder to a plank above it:
The top of the red area. You knew I was going to do something like this, didn't you?
Then, I went in and completely redid the rightward slab. I added and subtracted and painted over and over, and got a great set of ridges and cavities and such like:
I like it. It looks like an age-worn rib of some immense, er, thing. I'm thinking it adds even more to the work. And I'm thinking maybe it needs some friends.
I've been needing some large style brushes for a while (usually I use my hands) and A.C. Moore has some very good and very inexpensive ones.
This then gets all spread around and mushed around and generally is forced to cover most of the canvas. (Note: Despite the rather purplish appearance of the photos to follow, they're not actually purplish. I think it was the lighting in the room.)
This will be used in conjunction with a space-age plastical
drinking cup, like the one below.
Actually, the one pictured above was the very same one
used in this operation.
What we do, is use the little wooden bit and scrape it across the canvas, gathering up the excess paint, and we then scrape the wooden bit across the lip of the cup, and repeat the process. At the end, the canvas looks like this:
And the cup looks like this:
The little wooden bit doesn't get an "after" photo as it would have been too messy to try and hold it and photograph it. Trust me, though, it gave its life dearly, but in a good cause.
The canvas gets some more work:
And some more work. Below, we've started smoothing out the
remaining paint so it doesn't look like a bunch of scraped paint.
Finally (for now), we add some cloud details, trying to match
the left edge with the right side of the original Paint Blog II.
This is a not-very-good photo of the two of them together.
While it looks as if the color is way off between the two, trust me, it's not
the case. They actually look pretty good together.
Now, we're going to let it dry some more and put some details
in the clouds. Then, we start on continuing the structures on Paint Blog II
over this new canvas.
Details as they appear.
As of November, 2005. To be continued.
As of March, 2006. To be continued.
Working on paintings that are supposed to be representative of some kind of reality (as opposed to simply realistic) is something that can't be forced, which is why Paint Blog II has taken as long as it has. Since its beginning at the end of 2004, I've begun and completed other works while this one waits patiently, knowing that its day will come, then go, then come back again, until one day it will stand complete. It's important to get it "right" in the aspect of an environment; other, more abstract works can have some invention inflicted on them, usually with positive results. Anyway. When we last left this work, it was back in March. (One thing I've found out was that I have no shots of the overall appearance of PBII as of the time I last worked on it.) I think the reason there aren't any overview shots is that at the time I put the brush down, I made a couple of tentative marks along the bottom of the canvas that would become further structures. Here they are (this is the lower left hand corner of the work):
Apologies for the lousy photo. Most of the photos in this update are pretty lousy, the reason being that it's a pretty dark work (lots of raw umber) and hence needs a slower shutter speed to see anything other than a dark mass. But a slower shutter speed means the possibility of blur, so one has to be steady. Here's another photo of the same image, slightly lighter to show the (ick) detail better.
Sarge, they're dropping packing foam on us again. In a word, ecch. I didn't want to post an overview photo with those on it. But now we're ready to work on them. So let's add some details, roughen them up so they look like old concrete or stone.
Not bad, well, at least I can stand to look at them now without groaning. Of course, they're floating in mid-air, but we'll deal with that later. Here's a wider shot of the tableau, the details added a bit more. You might notice something in the upper center of the picture, clinging to the central support. We'll get to him in due time. Right now we're going to concentrate on the bottom of the painting and the work done there.
Let's add a support under the floating thing at the right edge, and add a tentacle or two while we're at it.
More tentacles would be good; they always are.
Some "stuff" that might be sprouting these tentacles. Just vague enough to be interesting, and then (later) reworked to be even more vague.
And below, a wider shot of this, showing some ground details and some added roughening of the floating slab to the right.
Back to the original two slabs, I then added some supports for them, so they are no longer floating. These were supposed to look metallic, but I liked the way they almost look organic, like they're legs for the slabs, so I kept them vague-ish (this photo is much lighter than the actual work).
More ground details added. Highlights on the eath, more (and reworked) highlights on the organic mass, some details on the floating slab at the right.
The floating slab on the right, closer.
This shot's pretty dark, but it's the ground near the red area.
Another dark shot--man, was I drunk or what?--of the red area itself.
Finally, the area where the tentacle grasps the support beam. Some subtentacles were added and highlighted.
In the next series of photos, we'll look at the guy in the middle, and get an overview of the work so far. Plus, a surprising new development.
In the photos above, you might have seen a vague whirl of something near the top of the photo area, clinging to one of the support beams (in the work). I mentioned previous that we'd get to him soon, and that soon is now. Also as mentioned, I don't have any overview shots of the previous stage. I do, however, have a shot that shows this guy's tentative origin. It's right here:
That's him in the lower-middle-left, right below where the ladder joins the support beam. I can't recall why he was added, though I suspect it was done to hide some spillover of raw umber onto the surrounding sky; I'm sure I had some brilliant scheme in mind. I tend to, you know. Well, in one huge rush of work, he went from what you can kinda sorta see above (if you look really hard) to this:
You can also see the tentacle and the floating slabs referenced in the previous chapter. I'm not sure if the tentacle is part of the guy, or he's part of something larger below, or if they're two separate creatures. There are other possibilities, of course. Viewer's choice. Here's a picture showing the overall view of the work thus far. You'll note that the lower part of the canvas is priot to the state we left it in last chapter.
Much as I liked the guy above, he seemed incomplete. How about another structure, yellow and white this time?
Now this is starting to look good, I think. It looks almost fungal. Like this guy's clambered up these supports and got himself comfortable, and is sprouting a fruiting body. More of that could only be better, right?
And even more, including some dark structures inside, to give the idea of anatomy.
He ended up with a few more white filaments reaching toward the ladder, but this is the last of his closeups. This is pretty much what he looks like now. (Except for the glare on the paint, of course.) Speaking of the ladder, it got some highlights:
Now, we come to the overview shots. These were taken at various times during the work on both the floating slabs and Mr. Fungus.
Now that I look at these, they all seem to be the same damn photo. Oh well, I guess I was trying different exposures or something. Mr. Fungus, in the last photo, has had some more personal growth, so at least that's a difference. That's how the work currently stands as well. (Okay, I went back into PSP and looked at the photos. In the second one, the ground area in the lower right has been darkened up some. Some highlighting was added in the same area on the organic thing in picture three. And as noted, Mr. Fungus had his hair done in the fourth. So they're all different, just not much different.)
What was really surprising was how well it all looked. Here's the worst photo of them all, showing the two canvases together on the wall (behind a lamp) as they're meant to be seen. Only in a better photo. This one really needs an apology but I'm tired of issuing those.
Actually, the lamp works pretty well in that photo, doesn't it? I'm going to try to get a better picture...someday. I like the look of these, though they are a little bit Time-Life-ish. Time-Life would do these paintings of environments with dinosaurs or sealife, and then in the corner they'd have the painting as a black and white outline, with numbers to identify all the beasts therein. That's what this reminds me of. It said something else, though. It clearly said, I'm not finished. And I knew the direction in which I needed to go.
That's right. PaintBlog II has gone from being a diptych to a triptych. Cool.
The next series of photos will detail the beginnings of this third panel.Happy Fourth of July to everyone, and happy 230th to the USA. Below, I’ve got photos of the progress so far on panel three of PaintBlog II. Here, we have the two canvases side by side, so as to judge horizons and line-ups and such. Masking tape was duly placed over the areas that I wanted to keep sky-free, and panel two was put back up on the wall.
Below, we have paint applied directly to the canvas. I usually find this is quicker than trying to brush it on bit by bit.
Then, the initial smearing.
Right around now, I realized that the blue was slightly different than the blue on the second panel. So found another shade of blue and started blending them in. Here, in this flash photo, you can see…well, since I used the flash, it doesn’t look like they’re different at all. But they are. The one below has a slight hint of green in it.
Anyway, some more shots of the paint being blended, then detailed. Trying to match cloud areas with panel two.
Finally, the tape is removed. Voila.
Here they all are on the wall together. The photo is pretty dark; sorry about that. As you can see, I need a bigger wall. But I think they look pretty good together.
I’m not exactly certain where to go next, so I may put this work aside for a while. Maybe a day or two, maybe a month or two, maybe even longer. It all depends on where it wants to go.
As of July 4, 2006. To be continued.
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