Friday, July 13, 2018

Yoda, The Painted Rock

Well, if you think about it, it was bound to happen.  Never before has a subject and surface been more perfectly in synch.  Perhaps if I'd painted the Flintstones.  I probably won't be hiding this one; he's just too cool, and will look nice in my workshop.  He's the perfect paperweight size.
acrylic on stone, 6.25 in. x 4 in.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Walt Disney, The Painted Rock

So.... it's summer.  Especially here in the Valley.  And while nature, from its gaping maw, belches its volcanic fury down upon us, we still attempt to have some enjoyment.  Thank GOD ABOVE for the invention of a.) the roof, and b.) air conditioning.

One of the ways to have a little fun is to do some crafty things, like how I've been painting rocks.  Every now and then, by the way, I wonder if this is responsible;  I mean, basically I'm saying that what I'm putting on a stone is superior to what nature had chosen a kazillion years ago.  It's me, and then this rock, and comparatively, I'm just passing through. But....

In this instance, there ain't no way that this rock could've been better than it is right now.  Of course (at least I hope it's "of course"), this is a depiction of Walt Disney.  You'll notice that I picked an image of him in his "Uncle Walt" phase.  I just like this version of him better.  He seems less aggressive, more confident, and yet more approachable.  And besides, this was from around the time Disneyland was started.

I've said it before and I'll say it again:  painting on rocks is not easy, at least not for me.  I constantly struggle with the distortion of the curved surface, and no matter how much filler and sanding I apply to the surface, it's still a little "gritty," and just about impossible for me to paint a smooth unbroken line.  The smaller the stone, the worse it gets.  And besides, why bother going through the effort on a tiny rock?

I'll be hiding this one in a day or so.  I'm actually going to the Walt Disney Family Museum this Monday, and my wife joked that I should hide it outside in that area.  But let's be honest, you know my luck.  I'll hide it on the grounds there, and then their landscaping service will come by and hit it with one of their mowers and do some kind of devastation.  So I think we'll just hide it here in town.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Luke Skywalker Portrait: Luke Joins Obi-Wan in Their Adventure

So after doing double duty on Ben's image, I decided after looking at him on my wall above my drawing table, that he needed Luke to be next to him.  Of course, that's what a normal person would get around to thinking.  Anyways, I ended up using the same approach as I had done with Kenobi, only this time I added a middle value of gray to the shadows, which gave his face more depth.

I think that, with this, I'm probably going to be moving on away from the geometric shape assemblage portraits.  They were fun brain teasers and  were engaging as a viewing experience, but I really want to get on with a wider array of color.  What started with Jabba the Hutt almost two years ago culminated with this guy, and I think that's about enough.  That'll do, pig. That'll do.
Luke, 11 x 17 in, india ink and acrylic paint.

Jesus: The Painted Rock!

Last year, while on a trip to the beach at Morro Bay, I stared at massive Morro Rock, and thought about how it had been used as the background for one of Ralph McQuarrie's preproduction paintings of Threepio and Artoo in the desert.  While gazing at the huge formation, I also thought about how it looked like a shoulder.  I wondered who could have themselves, in a portrait, transition from this massive stone formation into a human.  And for whom would that make sense?

Given my religious upbringing, it was a natural choice.  So, it all should've been a smooth and naturally easy process, to paint an image on a rock.  Right?


What followed was months of on and off again attempts to get the image right.  The expression of Jesus was never correct.  I was finding it impossible to engineer the composition in order to fit everything I wanted to say.  As a matter of fact, there were things that I had to give up on with the final rock.

But then there just comes the day when it's time.  Put your notes away, I am passing out the exams.

And so I just did it.  It's rather odd for me, to paint something that's so storybook-looking, but I figure that the quick read of the overall image is more important than my selfish desire to impress people.

So in the end, it's a compromise, but hey, I actually did it instead of just daydreaming all of the time about it.  Most of the original idea is here: the nativity, the sermon on the mount, the crucifixion, and finally, the resurrection.  I think the best part of the image is Mary Magdalene, hands raised to cover her mouth in a gesture of shock.  By the way, yes, I know her skirt is too short.  But it looked lame-o to have her skirt go all the way to the ground.

Anyways, hope you enjoy the Jesus Rock!

Monday, June 18, 2018

Obi-Wan.... Again!

So, after looking at my Obi ink portrait for about three weeks or so, I decided that I didn't hate him enough to throw him out, but didn't love him enough to keep him as he was.  So... instead of reworking the original, I decided to start all over.

This time, it was much quicker.  After completing the initial black shapes, it was on to splattering ink with an old fossilized toothbrush, as well as this time adding some translucent raw sienna over the entire image, to make it look like it was old and affected by time and the environment-- like Alec Guinnes was.

I remedied the annoyance with the last one regarding not having a thick enough white border around the image.  I believe that it makes a BIG difference in the overall presntation, to have that hand-painted uneven white border all the way around.

On the whole, I feel satisfied now that this is the image I originally had in mind.

The Return of the Jedi Rock

So today, while on my vacation, I sat down with rock on table and some black and white paint on hand.  I started up "Rogue One" in the background, and during the length of the movie I painted a grayscale portrait of Mark Hamill (pre-auto accident) with ignited light saber in hand.  Initially, I intended to apply translucent color over this underpainting, but I decided that I liked the way it looked as it was.  As a result, I'm relying on viewers' familiarity with lightsabers to know what the white stripe and surrounding buzzy static is indicative of.  It's a bit of an assumption, considering that there's no hands around the hilt to be seen.  Oh well, what's an imagination if you don't use it from day to day?

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Ben "Obi-Wan" Kenobi Ink Portrait

So, obviously, if you look back just a few posts, you'll see that I haven't exactly been posting with any kind of frequency.  It's been pretty paltry, and particularly paltry when compared to my old "Hall of No Shame" days (the original blog that ran from 2008-2011).  Oh well, life changes.

I basically mentioned that to say that if you look back just a few posts, you'll be able to travel back in time to last December!  And while there's many reasons to want to do that-- the joy of Christmas, cooler climes, Hickory Farms-- the main reason in regards to this current post is my last painted rock effort, the Obi-Wan rock.

Mr. Kenobi travelled out shortly after the pics were taken, part of a giveway raffle to celebrate the awful Disney Star Wars film, The Lost Jedi.  How were we to know.  Oh, that's right-- The Force Aweakens.  THAT'S how we were supposed to know.  Anyways....

Well, I did like the source image I'd chosen.  I felt his expression conveyed his character really well, and the lighting was particularly defining and strong.  I looked over at my ink splatter portrait of Yoda (from February of 2017), and got an idea:  what if I applied the same technique used for Yoda to an Obi-Wan portrait, using the same source image as was utilized for the painted rock?

I sized his face to be in comparable scale to Yoda, so they could be hanged together.  The speckled splattery finish you see was actually added after all of the shapes had been blacked in.  Let me tell you:  doing the splatter effect on an ink drawing as THE LAST STEP is not for the faint of heart.  All it takes is one drip of ink to escape that toothbrush or whatever tool you're using, and suddenly you're faced with a dilemma--- destroy it, or find a creative way to get it to be accepted into the image.  But in a weird way, this is a more entertaining experience; it ends up being an image slightly different than I'd planned for.

I didn't paint the ink all the way to the edge, creating a white rough border all the way around.  Unfortunately, but ultimately not a deal-breaker, when I put the picture into its frame, the edge was mostly covered, leaving some sketchy white spots all around the inner edge of the frame.  Ugh.  Oh well!

He's 11 x 17 inches, in portrait format, while Yoda is the same dimensions in layout format.

Now, I just gotta do Luke.  But not Han.  He was a scoundrel.
Here's the image, without a frame (obviously), but still not quite done.  There are areas that are just too white, making the image look like what it is: a bunch of white shapes on top of a black background.

I know it's annoying to have a reflection on the glass, but hear it is, in a frame now.  As you can see, the rough-edge border is not MOSTLY visible, and so what is left is a bit distracting.  But oh well.  You can see how I added some minor speckling to the area under the nose and within the sunken part of the cheek.  This of course forces the nose forward in prominence, making the planes of the face more dimensional.  My favorite part is probably the left side cheek, with all of the random criss-crossing going on.  I love how that these seemingly random shapes can collectively make a readable image.