Tuesday, May 25, 2010

It's All in the Wrist

I've been painting with gusto lately, trying to explore the border between abstraction and realism in painting, as well as trying to increase my vocabulary regarding texture and surface.

he subject I've been utilizing is perfect for this, which is Haiti (You may recall that I recently deployed to Haiti for Operation Unified Response, the humanitarian assistance action following the devastating earthquake in January).

Haiti is full of the rough and smooth, the dingy and brilliant, frenetic and restful... it is a land of extremes, and thus, as I've been trying to get more expressive with my "mark making" and brushwork, I've found that my photos and sketches from Haiti are good source material.

Here are some process photos to give a glimpse into technique:

Step One: After the sketch, I applied an Imprimatura, a toned wash/glaze.

Next Step: I began Blocking In basic color, starting with the trees and sky...(I used  a big brush to force me to be more loose, and I also used the palette knife... 
Further Steps: I began defining edges with tonal darks (this will help keep the drawing going during future layers)...
Texture and Form: I applied paint thickly in some areas, and glazy and thin in others, and alternated using brush and palette knife...

(here is the progress from May 26 2010)
Here is another little oil sketch on paper. the subject is a Haitian boy watching our activity from a tree, as other Haitians gather and pick up bags of rice at a Distribution Point in Carrefour.  One thing to note is the fact that less can be more as far as brushwork is concerned-- that is, one stroke well and quickly applied, can say a lot more than several slow, tight strokes. I also made sure that some of the underpainting could show through and that the texture of the paper could help depict foliage...
I'll  post more photos tomorrow, as these works progress to completion.  More to come...!
UPDATE 26 May 2010: Here's the finished product!
(It's hard to see the depth because of the glare on the surface glazes...)

(A detail of the kid's face).

1 comment:

Jo Castillo said...

These are just wonderful. I have been remiss in checking your blog, sorry. These are so great. Thanks for sharing.