Friday, May 27, 2016

The Hard Way

      Recently, I've been working on a series of paintings where I complete two paintings, one an 8" x 10", and the other, a 16" x 20", based on the same setup, simultaneously. The first couple that I did, my process was to make a drawing for the 8x10 and then bring it to FedEx to have it enlarged. It was a little tricky at first, but they figured out how to do it. The last painting that I just completed, "Melon Boat", their machine was down, When it's "go time" I can't wait, so I went home and gridded the drawing, and enlarged it the old fashioned way. It's obviously a lot more work and time, and time is money, so for my latest one (see above), I decided to give FedEx another try. I went with my 8x10 drawing, and explained that I would like one copy to be the same exact size, and one copy to be twice as big, 16"x20". Now I'm not a techno, but this doesn't seem to me to be overly complicated. I always bring a tape measure with me to make sure I don't leave with a wrong size image. The manager first made the one to one copy, it was a half inch smaller. Then she attempted the enlargement. It was an inch smaller, and all of the lines were scrambled and pixelated. She then proceeded to lecture me on why it was my fault for asking for something that was impossible, even though I explained to her that I'd had it done there before.
   I didn't get into an argument with her, I kept my cool, and drove back home empty handed. I try to be aware sometimes when the universe is trying to teach me an important lesson. I gridded up my drawing and proceeded to enlarge it the hard way, one square at a time. What I did was to setup two easels side by side, both facing the still life, and I made the block-in from the drawing, but I did the finished line work on the larger piece from direct observation of the setup. What I noticed was that as I made the enlarged drawing, I was picking up on some subtleties that had eluded me in the smaller piece, and actually might have been distracting in the smaller work. My original idea for doing these enlargements was to highlight some of the things that I do on the smaller pieces, and also to be able to push my brushwork a bit more. After doing the large drawing I transferred it to a canvas by rubbing the back with conte crayon, and tracing over the lines. I then did a very basic wipe out by covering the canvas with thinned down raw umber, and pulled out the lights with a paper towel. Some artists do a very developed and modeled wipe out, my philosophy is that if it doesn't look good with two simple value separations, it's not going to look good with five. My next step will be to add a thinned down color wash using Liquin, where I will paint each form up to as much of a finish as I can achieve with thinned down paint. Check out Doug Flynt's video (highly recommended) at for a good demonstration of this process. So Thanks FedEx for screwing up, you gave me the kick in the behind that I was needing!

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