Friday, July 20, 2007

Watch the Artist - Final Chapter

It's Finished! For better or for worse, I'm done with it. Is it successful? Hmmmm? It is successful in some ways more than others. Am I happy with the result? Is it what I expected? Not entirely. Remember that we were working on a new technique here. We were throwing in several new variables I've not dealt with before.

Let's start with the positives. I think the modulation of skin tones is more successful than any of my previous works. My ability to capture the light on the figure is much improved. The inclusion of cool (bluish) skin tones in the reflected light is an improvement over my previous works. I also hit a few spots with harder notes of red and gold that I had been afraid to try before.

I feel I have to stop there with the positives. I ended with several problems I couldn't reconcile. I lost the likeness. That is one thing I have always prided myself on, my ability to accurately render facial features. The foot and hand are a mess! Ugh! My draftsmanship is usually much better than this. For most of the drawing I retained great contours in that hand and foot. I knew we were working small scale and I would have to be careful. But, that last round of painting covered up some landmark lines and I lost the forms. I thought I could bring it back with some pencil work and shading. I couldn't. The background looks like an afterthought. It was supposed to be somewhat impressionistic of a tile wall. I missed. I also made a technical error that ruined the background, also.

Thoughtlessness! I reworked the face and made some adjustments with colored pencil. Things were looking good. I added some blue tiles into the "grout" lines in the background. They really sparkled for a while. I added the little "Gemini Art" cartouche. Then I made the mistake. I started to give the work one last coat of acrylic matte varnish. To my utter horror most of the delicate prismacolor work began to melt and blur away. That hadn't happened on the underdrawing. But then I remembered the underdrawing was done on bare paper. This pencil work was glazed over top of a solid coat of acrylic pigments and matte medium. There was nothing for the prismacolor pigment to hold on to. So most of it simply brushed away. The darkest, most intense pencil work remained but not the delicate blending and shading work. Note to self, "Don't liquid varnish over CP work. Use fixatives only!!" How many times are artists told to spot test a small section before applying chemicals to a whole work? I certainly learned my lesson. Oh well, that's why I'm still considered an "amateur" artist.

I thought about redoing the prismacolor work. However, both I and the subject are tired of this. When I ruined it with the varnish accident I do believe Mr. Pink Trunks scowled at me. I wondered about redoing that last step, but he told me he wasn't leaning against that tile wall for another five minutes. Then he stomped his foot and stormed off while I put up my art supplies. I told him that's the last time I'd work with him. I won't tolerate a model who cops an attitude with me. Maybe he can find work modeling as a superhero for the comic books. I only do "serious" artwork anyway. So there!

P.S. You guys do realize that last little bit was a complete and total fabrication to lighten the mood over the disappointing finish of this work, right?

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