Sunday, November 16, 2008

Portrait Painting

I've been painting more and more these days. My goal is to speed up and not be that perfectionist that I mentioned in my figure painting post. Back at CCAD I did get pretty good at painting fast because if you fell behind in your assignments, especially first year, you would most likely fail. I had a classmate - Vince Vollo who used to drive me crazy. He had an amazing talent. For every assignment he would churn out masterpiece after masterpiece. But most of the time the night before class he would destroy the completed piece, then pull an all-nighter creating an even better masterpiece for class the next day. Looking back now it was probably the best thing he did for himself, creating great self-discipline.

Here are a couple of pieces I created for an illustration class. The first one is a self-portrait. I don't think it's a very good likeness of me, but I've always loved it. It was done in Dr. Ph. Martin's Dyes and after 20 years is just now starting to fade.

This is a gouache piece. I always found gouache to be an extremely hard medium to use and never really mastered it's qualities. It is a medium much like watercolor, but a different ratio of pigment to water and some chalk is present - resulting in a more opaque finish. This may have been my last gouache piece.

This is a current acrylic piece in progress. I can't show you the entire painting because it may spoil the surprise for one of my family members. If they are loyal followers to my blog then they will figure it out, but I have my suspicions that they only visit after I prompt them to do so. You know who you are - have you figured out the suprise? I promise to show the completed piece - after Christmas.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Faux Marbling Extravaganza!

yellow onyx marble sample

I thought I would finally share the marble boards that came out of a recent class taught by Andre Martinez, of Faux Design Center, Inc.

the master takes his stance displaying his own marble study

When Andre rolls around get ready to be wiped out. This man has so much energy and is full of so much information - scientific facts, business advice, funny stories, and compelling life lessons spew from his mouth non-stop. I mean that in a good way!

He's the kind of teacher that you could take classes from over and over and learn vast amounts of new informative facts or techniques in each class. You might even learn to like a new genre of music since he happily plays tunes from his massive music library between lecturing and demonstrating. Andre is also the first to admit that he, himself will never stop learning which is humbling for a teacher to voice out loud, and inspiring from the student's perspective.

We had two days of with him. The first day, in the morning we studied photos of real marble, staring deeply into the veins and shapes of all types of beautiful stone. We discussed the creation of marble - how chemicals, minerals, pressure, friction, heat all transform this metamorphic rock. Within the first day before lunch we were creating studies of marble with our paint. That was the moment we learned to step out of our comfort zone. There was no controlling the medium it was going to be all about muscle memory, the ability to mix color, our tools, and some ingenuity. We laughed, we cried, we got fed up.

This was our final piece. The first layer - the White Carrara was created the first day. The second, third and fourth layer were all created in the afternoon on the second day after transferring the Victorian design. Three different marbles were created working one section at a time. First the Royal Green, then the Rosa Verona, and finally the Sienna Marble.

finished marble sample

By the time I was laying down my final Sienna Marble layer I hit the wall. I could no longer function. My brain shut down and I became intensely sleepy. For the many hours to follow I was exhausted but so completely excited about the prospect of creating some beautiful, rare marble for a client that appreciates the beauty of this stone.

Thanks for sharing your talent Andre!

rosa verona marble sample created on day two

royal green marble sample created on day two

malachite marble sample created on day two

The master's tools

Other fun facts:

At this year's Salon in Chicago Andre got the brilliant idea for all the masters of our industry to have the first Speed Marble Contest - a competition duplicating a marble finish. They had five seconds to view the marble sample, then it was turned over - FIVE seconds people! Then they have (I believe) 15 minutes or something crazy like that to recreate what they saw in FIVE seconds. It's crazy I tell ya! This isn't the best picture, but from the looks of it they all managed to create a convincing reproduction. I asked Andre how he did - he said he had his ass handed to him. If I could only do half as good as all of them in one day I would be yelling from the rooftops.

Masters left to right: Michel Nadai, Pierre Finkelstein, Pascal Amblard, Andre Martinez and Patrice Kreitz

photos courtesy of Pierre Finkelstein & Faux Finisher Magazine

Reviewing the photo of the masters at work I remembered I was the only left handed person in Andre's class - one out of 13. I felt alone! Usually there's at least two of us uniting in one class. In a sea of right-handed people you run, you fight, you do whatever you can to get the end seat. Left-handed people, you know what I'm talking about. Left-handed people unite! We're only about 10-15% of the U.S. population don't you know. Did you celebrate your right to be left-handed on August 13th, 2008? P.S. Our new President-Elect, Barack Obama is left-handed. Is anyone else excited about that?

Friday, November 7, 2008

MGMT - Electric Feel

I'm loving this song. I just want to dance and paint when I hear this song. The bear in the video reminds me of the bears from Country Bear Jamboree or the bear in Bjork's Human Behavior video (one of my all-time favorite videos).