I’m in the middle of a 30 Days 30 Paintings challenge. It runs for the month of January and is a great way to start the year. Creativity begets more creativity, so I feel like I’ve hit the ground running. Considering how busy this year is going to be for me, having a slew of new paintings, new ideas and new styles under my belt will only make things better.
This is my last painting from The Hobbit for this week. I’ve got two fandoms to jump into next and it’s always good to shake things up.
But I had to paint the two brothers. I just had to.
And my favourite part of The Hobbit is right at the beginning with everyone coming together for the first time. All the unexpected dwarves and the party and the mess.
I started on a white canvas, and actually a different grade of canvas than I normally use. Supposedly better. When I buy canvas from the store, they’re always wrapped in plastic which means there’s no chance to feel the texture so it’s a bit of a guess. This one was highly textured and though it was primed, really felt unprimed. The amount of paint I used on this one painting, because the canvas was so absorbent, was more than double my normal amounts. It took a bit of getting used to.
But change can be good, right? It means that the brain has to adapt and methods have to adjust. No same old, same old.
So with that in mind, I chose to paint this one differently. Not in flat layers of intense colour but with an underpainting and washes of colour. I used my fingers to smooth out the paint a lot.
There’s a good reason why I never eat in my studio, and it’s because the whole process is messy. From chalk to paint, I’d just end up ingesting my art supplies. Not to mention the fact that I get into the zone so often, I’d forget to eat whatever anyway.
Here, above, you can see how the paint went on. I never finish one part of a painting before the other because it can make a painting feel like it’s in pieces visually. A composition with multiple people in it needs to come together…together. Even with the background, I put all the colours in, but only really finished it up near the end.
Now check this out. Look. BOOM! The painting pulled together without warning. Okay, so large parts are still unpainted, but now these guys are actually present and alive. It’s crazy, because I was standing there painting and the change happened right in front of me. Moments like these, and they come in every single piece, are pure magic. Like unicorns and rainbows but with extra fucking glitter everywhere. This is what a painter’s high looks like, and it doesn’t involve solvents! Ha ha ha.
Now, this is the point where I stopped for the night. I was running on 4 hours of sleep and since I paint in the evenings, I was 20 hours into my day. The need to paint overrode the need to sleep and I kept going until my hands started shaking.
When I came back to the easel with fresh eyes and a few more hours of sleep under my belt, my first move was to punch up the colours. The painting felt flat and needed something. In cases like this, I just jump off the deep end and add unexpected colours into the mix. Bright yellow. Light purple. Naples yellow. Even florescent orange in spots. The painting looks crazy here (above) but there’s a method to my madness.
And look! I knocked the colours back and suddenly there’s more depth to his face. This shot looks really yellow; the lighting in my studio leans heavily towards the yellows, so just imagine him looking a little less jaundiced here.
Aaaaand we hit the details part. The part where I spend about an hour painting little things like stray hairs and eye highlights. It’s fiddly and requires focus and sometimes I just don’t wanna, but I do anyway because the difference between nearly finished and actually finished is night and day. See for yourself.
Acrylic on canvas
Prints and the original are available for sale.
With the incredibly sad passing of Alan Rickman today, I’m moving onto a Harry Potter painting next before pausing for this weekend’s show. The world has lost another great and we’re the poorer for it.