Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Pirates! Pirates everywhere!

Even though zombies and ninjas are cool, pirates will always be my favorite. Might have something to do with Johnny Depp.

So I use to paint all the time. It started at a young age with my eldest sister, Jennifurfur being an artist, and my dad's influence too. When I entered high school you had to choose between art or band, so I went with band but then approached the art teacher about taking art before and after school. My other sister, Julia, warned me that the art teacher was a scary scary bearded man, which he was, but he was also super cool. He let me come in early every morning and romp around the art room as I pleased.

As grades went on I fell in total love with art and we had an art room like no other. We had a kiln, pottery wheels, a silkscreening twirly doohickey, a cupboard full of dangerous chemicals to mix glazes, canvas and frames (we made our own canvases we were that cool), acrylic paint, oil paints, watercolours, different kinds of watercolour paper, charcoal, pastels, massive drying racks, a massive wooden table with lots of fun slicers and dicers to make mats, specialized benches for holding canvases, linocuts, carving tools, soapstone... it was heaven. I even helped my art teacher build a canoe around the tenth grade. We had life drawing classes on Wednesday evening and I started right away in grade eight. One class I got adventurous and tore off a six foot piece of manilla paper and attached it one of the large pottery tables turned on the side so I could draw people life size. I also got a chance to work with raku which is an amazing clay. My favorite sculpture I did is of the upper torso of a woman, all clavicle and boobs, and while she was drying the weight of her head pulled her neck back, so she's greatly exaggerated and awesome. With raku you fire it once in an ordinary kiln and it turns white. For the second firing, you use a glaze and the clay turns black. After the first firing I mixed an ordinary white glaze and than mixed what should have been a copper glaze; however, something was mislabeled because my glaze was possessed! For the second firing you actually need a kiln that is hotter than a regular kiln so we built a kiln outside using special bricks and tiger torch. We would also roast marshmallows and hotdogs on it during lunch (btw~ this was an all day project and Mr. Weibe would write a note to all my other teachers explaining I simply could not attend class). It's an intense experience. The kiln (outside) in pretty small and when you remove the sculpture you have to use tongs and special fire gloves. You drop the sculpture straight red hot from the kiln into a bucket of sawdust and throw a lid on it. The sawdust instantly catches on fire but because of the lid, the smoke is trapped and that's how you turn the exposed raku black. The only thing is you had to be careful removing the lid because all the oxygen would get eaten up inside the bucket so if you removed the lid too quickly there was sometimes a small explosion which did result in my art teacher losing the bottom half of his beard at one point. Mom you aren't still reading are you? Anyhoo, I had just poured my two glazes over the sculpture so that they flowed down, showing large areas of plain raku and overlapping strips of both glazes. The white glaze did what it was suppose to, but the second glaze went bonkers. Where it hit the white glaze it went kinda copper but more blue-ish black but when it was on its own it cracked and curled up on itself. When we checked on the sculptures the glaze had actually formed little puddles of itself and was crawling all over the sculpture. When it was done, they formed little speckles of beautiful colour all over the areas I had poured the glass. It's an amazing sculpture. All in all, it was seriously, an amazing art class.

As I got older I often skipped (Mom stop reading) other classes and go hang out in the art room. It was so large I could hide quite efficiently and it helped that possibly, just maybe, my art teacher would say 'I haven't seen her' if anyone asked. Which I'm sure, Mom, he never ever did. Anways, it was all I did in high school and I loved it.

I tried to keep up with it afterwards but between the travelling and the stupid amount of post-secondary educatioon, I lost touch with painting. I was still drawing and doodling like mad, most of my tattoos are from those doodles, but I wasn't painting. I decided once I really started making an income and settling down that I'd start up again. Well, this is really as settled as I'm going to get I think so yeah.

This summer I went out to Deserres and bought a massive canvas. It's about four feet by two and a half. I took it home and instantly realized I wasn't about to start painting again for the first time in years on such a large canvas and went and bought another one. This one is um... quite smaller... I don't know, maybe 30'' by 30''? I started with this one though I do have the pencil down on the larger one. So far so good, but I forgot how long it takes me to do a painting.

I tend to stick with layers of washes, using acrylic paint, which means letting the layers dry and putting new colours ontop of old. I love the versitatility of acrylic, and how you can blend and manipulate the colours, unlike watercolour, where you're kinda stuck with whatever you put on the paper (though I still do love watercolour). It just takes a little longer. Afterwards I go ontop to do the details and such. My little painting is nearly done some of the layers, but I'm so scared of the face! Oh I'll have the whole thing done but her face I swear. I love faces and I draw them constantly. It's like extra pressure times a hundred. Anyhoo, here's the progression of the painting thus far...

Oh, the original photo I found here at Jezebel. It stayed with me after I saw it~ for a whole week I couldn't stop thinking about it and who the girls were and then I realized I wanted to paint that photograph.

I bought a set of paints from De Serres that not only worked with the colour scheme, but it also meant I could afford to do the painting with nice quailty paints. Their website is down but I'll see if I can find it later for you.

The first stage I was having trouble with the skin and the green colour but overall I was happy with it. I had a lot of fun with colour and the background.
The second layer I worked on the background some more and the folds on her clothing but I reallyl wasn't happy with the skin or the green again. I decided to go and buy her skin colour in acrylic instead of mixing it because my mixing was too haphazard to get a consistent skin tone. I could not get the green vibrant enough either so I bought another green.
This is where it's at now. I'm pretty happy with the earth and I'm going to hopefully finish off the pants behind her soon. The green worked fabulously and same with the skin, though I didn't do anymore on her face yet.
I'm very happy I did this post. I'm totally inspired to do some more painting tomorrow. Today I mostly slept and realized that I simply cannot eat soup anymore. I'm feeling much better and tomorrow is a holiday so I'm sure I'll be back with my class on Thursday. Wheee!

Thanks to Jubbers for phoning me and reminding me to blog! High five!


Jenn said...

Excellent post! I hope to paint and glue and cut paper today. If I do, I'll try and let you know about it.

Mrs.Q said...

I always wanted to be a pirate when I grow up. Though I have to say, I prefer Jason Isaacs as Capt. Hook to Jack Sparrow...mmmm!