Friday, June 8, 2012

Illustration Board Experiment

I have never used illustration board. For my oils, I have always used stretched canvas, which is a great way to work, but may be impractical for the large amount of works I want to make in a short amount of time. So as not to dive into my senior project without any idea of how illustration board behaves, I am going to paint a portrait. Not just any portrait. I am painting a portrait of a mergentleman. Or is it gentlemerman?
I started with a few sketches, as usual. I was not feeling ambitious enough to portray the whole upper torso of a mergentleman reading a bivalve book, so I settled for a classy bust portrait, which will be in an oval-shaped mat.
I decide that I want to make a maquette, which is a small-scale sculpture used as a 3-dimensional reference point. I begin with foil, which I wrap in tape. I don't plan on baking the maquette, otherwise it is advisable not to use tape. I use tape so I won't have to pick out tiny bits of precious clay when I recycle the maquette afterward. Strauss is there to help me with the gist human anatomy.
I cover the sculpture with Super Sculpey. It is mounted on a tupperware container for easy sculpting access and to keep the bust from tipping over.
For the facial fins, I cut up and bend pieces of wire. At this point, the sculpture is complete minus the small details like the pipe and barbels.
The sculpture is complete! I have changed a couple of things from the sketch including more stylish, up-turned mustache barbels, the addition of chin barbels, a more pronounced chin, and a bivalve bow tie instead of a kelp neck tie. I then take several reference photos with the above two being the ones I actually print out. The photos are taken with a blue sheet in the background to get a watery atmosphere for my fishy gentleman.
And here is the work station. The desk on the right can not adjust to be vertical, so I taped my illustration board to an over-sized clip board and put that on an easel. I would have ended up with too much distortion to the painting if I worked on such a shallow slant. You can see my reference photos littered throughout and my maquette sitting on a modified music stand to the left of the easel. I will be drawing mostly from the maquette, but I have my references ready for when I get to the details.

On a different subject, I have recently finished an oil painting that I began during this past spring semester for my painting class:

This is a painting of my cat, Oliver. I am very, very happy with how it turned out.

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