Thursday, August 14, 2014

How I figured out constructive painting

I want to document this so I'll remember how it happened. It was really this image that made me understand how to paint constructively. And I know - at first glance, it looks like I did the cylinder as a guide for how to paint the more complex forms of the - um - dude-thing. But strangely that's not why - I was just getting frustrated because I was having trouble blending my tones. It was more about how to place stripes of graduated vales and blend them, and what I did on the cylinder was to lay down 4 or 5 stripes, then grab one and lay it down semi-transparently to create an in-between zone. I kept going, creating in-betweens between the in-betweens, and it was looking good. So that's more or less how I ended up painting the image next to it.

But it didn't occur to me to use the cylinder as a guide for placing zones of tones, or to paint a sphere for the same purpose that would give me more planes. I thought about that after finishing it, and thats what led to my next image.

Another key difference between this and Knockout is that here some of my strokes are pretty random - scribbling as it were. On the forehead in particular. I was still refusing to follow the forms, and was thinking more about creating a varied, interesting surface with lots of brush strokes all over.  But you can see that on some parts I was starting to follow the form (paint along the length of the form, rather than wrapping lines around it as in drawing). And those areas look the best. So finally I broke through my mental block and just did it that way on Knockout - well, after some initial attempts at other things.

I'm sure this post will be an embarrassment to me in the future, after I develop a better understanding of constructive painting and realize that all this is silly and mostly off track - but it serves now as an important step in figuring it out.

Oh, just remembered something else - wow, that little cylinder is actually very important in this! Another reason I put it there was to figure out what order to do things in - you need to paint certain things overtop of others to cover them - for instance I did the upright cylinder wall first and it had very ragged edges top and bottom, then I did the lid over it and cut the bottom edge (which I tried several times and never did very well, but good enough as a test). A big part of it is figuring out what order to work in - pretty much back to front, at least in the finishing stages (in the beginning I think you can do it however you want just to establish the forms).

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