I will get the ball rolling on this blog by reposting a process thread that appeared on the Art Dorks message board a year and half ago. Sadly, the thread was lost in a server crash and I am going to have to piece it back together...but lucky for me, I am quite bad at cleaning the shit from my hard drive.
So here we have a 49" x 36" acrylic on wood painting that was started sometime in 2004. I had abandoned it for a year and came back to it. The detail photo above was what I had, and while I generally liked it- it wasn't quite good. The composition was clunky, the characters were a bit too goofy and the color was drab.
So I tried tightening up some of the loose ends, eliminating some elements that were cluttering up the composition, pushing some stuff back and changing characters. Unfortunately, what I came out with was pretty damn turgid, eliminating the spontaneous feel of the original. The fire especially was lacking in the new version- what once looked raging and chaotic was now quaint and cute, upsetting the weird emotional impact the original had. But I had made progress as the composition flowed more and the push and pull of the lights and darks were finally working.
Whereas I thought I had done well on the body of the main character by fixing the shoulder and defining the belly more- the thing that was really bothering me was the changing of the face. The original face, while a bit flat and stoned-looking, emoted something strange- whereas the revision looked like fucking Delta Burke. The Delta Burke face was simply smiling, being happy in her pudgy way- it brought the impact of the painting down to a level of ironic cutesiness that I didn't like. The original face on the other hand looked pretty fucked up in a happy but slightly oblivious way...and it was a bit sexy. I usually go for long faced dark or Jewish looking faces and Delta Burke really isn't that. It was important for me to have an emotional connection to this painting...so back to the drawing board-
I was trying to get that original feeling back in the main character while retaining some of the spacial depth of the Delta Burke version. Fortunately I had heard an interview with Heidi Fliess on the radio that day. I was intrigued by her raspy voice and abrasive manner of speech but I only vaguely remembered what she looked like...Thank god for google image search!
Wow! What a face! Slighty repulsive, kinda sexy, very fucking scary. Look at that claw-like hand, those teeth and that mask-like long face. She looks like an absolute cunt- but a woman who knows what she wants and has the smarts and will to get it. She doesn't give a fuck about anyone- she is completely oblivious in her demented little world. This was what I was trying to convey in the expression and pose of the main character.
At the time I was also obsessing over a website about Female Masking (above- click image for larger version). Female Masking is a fetish practiced mostly, but not exclusively, by men who wear realistic masks of women. These pictures are insanely creepy- reminding me of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre when Leatherface puts on his best lady-mask for dinner. But what is most striking about these photos are the banal surrounding of their messy apartment and the terrible attempts at making a professional glamor-shot backdrop. Like the Heidi Fliess photos- these people are in their own reality.
I find these photos erotic because I can just feel their dicks getting hard as pre-cum seeps into their panties while they prance around in their masquerade. The photos exhibit more honesty than most erotica or porn I have seen- even though these people are masked, their fetish is standing quite naked and a bit pathetic. By saying pathetic- I am not passing any moral judgement or mockery...rather I am asserting that sexuality is pathetic and quite silly. By pathetic and silly I mean that it reduces us to such an animal level and our human rational goes out the window...yet it is fueled by psychology and we jump through such ridiculous hoops in order to get off. I love it!
Anyway- I changed the face keeping these things in mind...
While also developing and changing things around in the rest of the painting. It was coming along nicely but it still didn't click. As you can see I was always futzing with the clouds, ground and various creatures populating the landscape. I also restored the fire to the original chaos while still tightening it up (it's easy for chaos to look good in oils but it looks like absolute shit in acrylics)...
Now comes the most tedious yet fun part...finishing those tiny details but also inserting various foliage to make your eye move around better...and doing hair! I love to paint hair! I laid down a wash of orange-yellow and worked back up with pinks to put more depth in the skin tones as well as saturating the color overall. This is the finished piece.
This one is my favorite detail of all. I waited a year to put this finishing touch on...
Friday, December 8, 2006
I have been meaning to start a blog that documents my process and train of thought for about a year and a half now. Previously I was posting this material on the Art Dorks message board. Now that Art Dorks is kaput- this was the best time to embark on this tedious adventure. Come join me in my open forum of working out ideas and postings of various crap that I find interesting.