Sunday, November 14, 2010

Porcu -- Adding Major Masses to the Armature

Anatomy for Artists, Écorché with Frank Porcu

Ok, so there's a bunch of pictures in the album above that show a significant step forward in constructing our écorchés. Over the weeks I've been still going to class every Sunday, from 10am-5pm and we've been lectured on the anatomy of the 3 major masses -- pelvis, ribcage, skull. We sculpted and truncated them from clay.

This time we finally placed them onto the armature, and the captions of the pix describe the progression. Enjoy!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Tunisian Collaborative Painting Workshop

"Move If You Wanna"

Ok, I just came from a most energizing, energetic, and exhausting (painting) experience I've had in a while!

You are looking at the results of my taking part in the Tunisian Collaborative Painting Workshop at the League. You can read all the wonderful details and origins of this painting method on the official website using the link above.

David Black was GREAT in explaining everything to us. He was totally cool and came off a little bit to me like a cool priest :) Anyway, there were 6 artists (including me) working as a group (yay Group2!) on one canvas AT THE SAME TIME.

Interestingly enough, everything worked out pretty smoothly. Our first collaboration is above ("Move If You Wanna"). I have to admit that about "halfway" thru the painting I was worried that it looked like two distinct paintings on one canvas. I did, however, have a strategy going into the first one. I basically stepped back from it, saw the colors/shapes that were being laid down, and brought the forms out using black. So that's what I kept doing. Filling in the spots with big color shapes (yellow, pink) and then finding form with black. I also tried to unify the painting with elements that transverse the canvas. We voted as a group when we thought the painting was done. I just kept stepping back and going in, finding form, adding big sections of color -- it reminded me of the Basquiat/Warhol collaborative paintings. It came out pretty cool I think!

During the discussion break I noticed that there were pieces of the painting that I wanted to "fix" but couldn't and I would just have to accept it. Also, one of my group members turned out very frustrated and non-freeing which was the opposite feeling of the majority. But it did feel freeing to me. I could just step back and react to shapes and colors that were being put up in the moment. It was so cool!

Ok, for the next painting I knew that I wasn't going to be using black because that had been done in the first, so I didn't really have a plan or goal. I stepped back a lot more and just looked at what my group members were doing. I actually started out by writing non-related letters, like "XVZ" and smilies "=[" but they eventually got painted out, which didnt bother me at all. I wanted to unify the painting so I put in the series of circles that again transverse the painting. I started to notice some of the elements that other group members were painting and tried to replicate them myself. An example of this is the triangles evident in the middleish of "Move If You Wanna" and on the right column of "Stepping Stones" below. The group member that was initially inhibited in the first painting (she felt better in the second one) put these on. So when I saw her put them on again in the second painting I replicated them into the column that you see. I think they were really great in the second and gave us a great structure to help us look at the entire work.

Stepping back and looking at these paintings, it does seem like only one artist painted them which is interesting. Also, I really like that our paintings look different from each other. "Move If You Wanna" is more structural while "Stepping Stones" is more organic. I'm not laying any judgment there, just making an observation.

We painting for 4 hours and came up with these paintings. It was great. I wish I could do this every couple of weeks! AND this has actually gotten me to revisit my abstract work. Abstracts have always mad more sense to me intuitively. I was looking at my unfinished abstracts and I think I want to approach them in this more freeing method. I kept thinking "no hesitation" like Picasso in "The Mystery of Picasso".

So great!

"Stepping Stones"

MCK Workshop Finale


This week is a bust! I feel like everything that I was supposed to get out of the studies last week didnt take! Im a goon! (FYI monday the model was absent and my painting sucked SO BAD on tuesday that I didnt even take a pic) So by the end of wed. my disgusting "painting" was so out out of proportion that I had to erase the head, as you can see. I must have redrawn it like 3 times and EACH time i redrew it in the same INCORRECT way. (ugh!)


When MCK came over she basically said that I needed to put in the colors (accurately) of the elements in the background. Once those were in the colors of the model would make more sense. I did, and she was right.

"Spot on," she said and then let out a little laugh.


I didn't hate this painting anymore, just wanted to work it. I got the other background and foreground colors in more accurately. It was instantly easier to see the skin tones and work them. I added the hint of a little line here and there and I think it serves to create a unified little world of this painting. I wish I was in this groove earlier in the week, but lesson learned. So here's what I got out of this 2 week workshop:
  • Accurate color is everything.
  • Worry about getting the shapes correct with their colors.
  • Background/foreground elements have as much impact on the subject as the light on the subject itself.
  • Details will be revealed (are easier) thru the course of getting the major colors/shapes accurate (so don't worry so much about them)

What an amazing lesson to be learned, thanks so much MCK.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Urban Landscape1

Ok I got back from the 2010 Grant Winners Exhibition and was again inspired by my role model, Beñat Iglesias. Among other amazing work he has this wall of small landscape paintings that are phenomenal. I started my own versions but don't really know what landscapes look like being a city kid all my life so here it is.

The scene is Queens Blvd/Continental Ave. on a normal day (as I see it). The top pic was the beginning of the painting (yesterday) which is kinda weird. Because it's the smallest I've ever worked (8 x 10 in.) I can cover a lot more canvas with minimal brushstroke. On the downside the smallest bit that Im off makes a huge difference.

Below is tonight's version which already is starting to come to life. I find that the paint is taking FOREVER to dry, so I have to make bolder brushstrokes loaded with paint to make an impression on the canvas. Maybe in a few more nights this will be done. But this has made me want to put out a series of Urban Landscapes -- more to follow!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Working from Reference =\

(Saturday, the 6th)

Well this was my first attempt at finishing this piece from reference photos back home in NYC. I was nervous because my instinct was telling me that I had so much left to do on this one, and the photos were not EXACTLY the right angles, etc. So I first had to go thru about 70 reference photos that I took with my trusty iPhone and I narrowed it down to 22, and of these there's basically one that I keep looking at.

Well I'm relieved to say that I overestimated how much work was left on this portrait! The good news about the reference pix is that I can get the nose and eyes much more accurately than ever before. There are some real subtle and tricky angles in her nose, but they make all the difference in the world with regards to getting the likeness more accurate.

What sux about the pix is, simply put, the color.

But hey check out the hair, which i feel has great texture now, and her eyes have gotten much better. Shouldnt take more than 3 solid sessions to finish this =)

(tonight's progress)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Day 5 -- Non Dominant Hand

Ok, you ready? This was all done with my left hand! I know, right?!

Well of course it's not that good but still I thought it was a cool way to wind down the 5 days of color studies. It was with this that I started to put together the point of these exercises.

What I learned most was to focus on getting accurate colors and then the details will reveal themselves.

I spend so much time worrying about details and likeness but by throwing everything up in the air (esp. with the left hand exercise) I was forced to completely forget details and just focus on the colors and shapes. So, hopefully I can take this into account next week when we revisit the model and her first pose :)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Day 4 -- Palette Knife

We were not allowed to paint with brushes at all today. The painting had to be completed with a palette knife only. I set out to get the figure right, pretty much like the geometric color study. But then I could hear MCK telling people that they had to put more color in their studies (the monitors have set up a series of colorful backdrops for each model).

So since I hadnt done much yet, I restarted by painting in the red stool. When MCK came over she explained the she wanted at least 5 major colors in the study. If I got the surrounding colors right, the model would become easier to get. Until then I had totally thought to focus on the model, but she said the point of the exercise was to see how the surrounding colors create the shape that we perceive as the model. So cool!

So here it is, 5 colors like MCK ordered. I wouldve liked to get a bit more nuance in each of the major shapes, but what the hell.

By the way, cleaning up without using brushes was fuckin great!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Day 3 -- Painting From Memory

Ok so there are always 2 models in the studio and we pick our spots and model on which to focus. So in today's assignment we were told to look at the other model in the studio, stay in our spots, and paint from memory.

How to approach this? Well I think last time I cheated a bit, so this time I didnt give a fuck about making the image look realistic at all. I was just interested in making the thing resemble that which I could remember of the model. It's funny that the picture ends up looking like a cartoon, but I like the shapes, colors, and composition. I think it's pretty cool for a study of the model from memory. (I tried to stare at her as long as possible without looking back and forth, which I thought was cheating-ish. I only did that for the details in the face etc.)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Day 2 -- Geometric Shapes

This was my favorite assignment from last summer, because it was about abstract shapes. This time I don't think I did as good as last time:

The difference is that I drew an angular outline and then tried to fill that outline in with colored geometric shapes. I should have just started painting the shapes taken it from there. All in all it was an ok attempt I think. I didn't get a good enough sense of her colors though, which I think was the point of the assignment :(

Monday, November 1, 2010

Fall Workshop -- Day 1 Blind Contour Drawing

Ok before you say anything give me a second to explain. MCK is doing something this week to which I have been looking forward since the summer. Everyday this week we are doing a different painting exercise. Then she will only give us one week to start and finish the painting. The idea is to do a series of different studies to familiarize ourselves completely with the model and the pose so that when we start the painting we should have a really good idea of what to do!

So here on this first day the assignment is to draw the model, without looking at the paper! Oh man, when I did this over the summer I was sooo frustrated but this time I just had fun! I remembered Rob's disposition -- he was so cool and was actually laughing at his drawings so that's what I ended up doing. Trust me there are like 6 pages of these weird drawings but here are a few quickies. The first is what the actual pose will be for next week. The other is me trying to focus on the face. They look like strange cubist/linear nightmares but trust me I DID NOT look at the paper once (as you can see) =P Looking forward to tomorrow!