30 Days 30 Paintings. A challenge month that always yields surprising results for me. And by surprising, I mean good surprising.
And this style is no exception.
I have a huge background in art history which I’ve finally been able to forget for the most part. But some things just stay. Like the warm rich yellows and golds in classical portraits. And I never thought I’d enjoy or be able to paint in a way that is reminiscent of that. So my series of dwarf paintings is incredibly satisfying in so many ways for me.
This style really works on the black canvas. And dwarves are so easy to paint that I start with a minimal drawing, mapping out the important things like eye size, nose shape and so on. This stage is incredibly quick because I really want to get to the good bits.
Yellow Ochre. Looks a lot like peanut butter and so much more satisfying.
Or in my case, with 100% less death involved.
I love painting with it. The colour goes on like most yellows, very translucent and requires layers and mixing with other colours to make it strong enough. But on black? It pops.
Working a bit out of order here, I put on the white and lighter colours next. And then the painting got silly.
Is it just me or does this feel like a horrific cross of dwarf and Klingon? Ha! But of course, layers matter and I just had to keep going. But I clearly had some Worf on the mind.
Nori had a lot of reds and pinks in his face and I had to get them in somehow. So I used Napthol Red everywhere and look how the painting really started to work. Who’d have thought that unexpected red in the hair would work? Like come on! RED!
I took a lot of risks colour-wise with this painting. Something about Nori really felt like I could and the piece would still work.
And when I started layering on the various yellows and browns and blacks, it really pulled together.
For anyone who wants to know, this was mostly done with a 1.5 inch brush. Fucking huge but it allowed me to paint fast and not dwell on the details for most of the painting. This matters, because I wanted a loose and fun look considering the subject matter.
Adding in a black outline worked surprisingly well. I’ve done that before on occasion but never to this extent. I stole the idea from Van Gogh’s work, but with my own twist. See? It’s important to know art history. Ha. Or at least see what other artists are doing or have done. Artists never work in a vacuum and it’s important to acknowledge that we do steal, even subconsciously, from each other. Not copying because that defeats the purpose of being creative, but stealing ideas or approaches.
Acrylic on stretched canvas
Prints and the original are available.