Monday, August 24, 2015

Blondie gets "Hanged"

News from my latest foray into the fine art gallery world: I recently finished an oil painting of Clint Eastwood for a gallery show with the theme of old Hollywood entitled "Glamour, Glitter & Noir: A Celebration of the Silver Screen." It was the second oil painting I've done (in the last month) with water-mixable oil paints which are increasingly addictive. They are so fun to play with and mix on the canvas that time simple slips away while working with them. SO FUN! I have painted with water color and acrylic a lot, but only recently was I turned on to this medium. I started with a digital caricature I had made in Adobe Illustrator to simplify shapes and work out basic details using those precise computer tools. I then projected the image from my computer to the canvas to get the basic framework, then the painting began. I tried underpainting first with a light blue wash which I originally thought would just end up being the final. One color looked cool. But the important parts weren't standing out so I added Yellow Ochre to warm it up a bit. Being the entertainer that I am, I wanted to tell a bit of a story in the space of Blondie's poncho. Since the movies that made Mr. Eastwood famous were (notoriously) made in Italy, I painted Italian landmarks to be the image woven into the fabric. The Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Coliseum, and a vineyard are all clustered together. I also painted a tag and scratched in the word "ITALY" into the fresh white paint using the sharp, metal end of a math compass. I also scratched some other detailed texture in his blistered, sunburned lips. I wanted an old, weathered barn-wood frame reminiscent of the buildings in "The Good, The Bad, And the Ugly" movie, and asked a colleague's carpenter husband to make one. However that same weekend I found one the exact size and shape at an antique/craft mall in Ozark, MO and snatched it up. The new (old) frame leaned decidedly red in hue so I knew my blue underpainting with yellowish brown highlights wasn't going to be enough. I had to get some red into the painting to make sure the frame looked right. I made notes to myself to extend his chin and add an ominous sunset. I had originally planned on leaving the sky blank since I was in a rush to meet the gallery hanging deadline, but once I finished the main character, I thought of ways I could use the sky to carry out some implied lines and add some more red. I am happy with the final piece, and out of the three I submitted, this one is getting the most buzz. Canvas is 16x20, but the frame makes it around 21x25. Currently for sale through the Springfield Regional Arts Council.