Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Red & gray Ford tractor in landscape disegno; oil on panel by Paul Baldassini

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“Art produces ugly things which frequently become more beautiful with time. Fashion, on the other hand, produces beautiful things which always become ugly with time.”  — Jean Cocteau

This past weekend I began work on a new painting. The source image was composited from two separate images. One was of an immaculately restored 50's era red and gray Ford 8N tractor. The other was a shot taken at local farm around the same time of day and with similar lighting conditions. The compositing was done in the same manner as described in an earlier post, my usual technique for developing compositions with silhouetted objects and replacement backgrounds. Standard stuff I learned from years of advertising product retouching and compositing. I still do a lot of it — have to pay the bills, making art certainly doesn’t.

My prep work normally takes about 3 - 4 hours depending on the amount of detail. This one required a lot of patience as there was quite a bit of detail that needed to be recorded. It’s the single most important part of my process and I listen to music and take my time — the success of the painting depends on this road map.

I decided to paint on a primed panel this time instead of my usual linen mounted on panel. No particular reason, just to break the routine and try something different. The panel is 1/2-inch MDF sealed and primed with one coat of Latex exterior white housepaint and two coats of Gamblin Oil Painting Ground, which is a mixture of alkyd resin, titanium dioxide and barium sulfate — no lead. Needs about two weeks to dry thoroughly, maybe less if baked in the sun 6-8 hours. Trim size is 33 1/2 x 24 inches.

I listened to a variety of tunes while I did the layout: Frank Zappa’s Sleep Dirt from 1979 — incredible close-miked studio acoustic and electric sessions; The Allman Brothers Band Fillmore Concerts recorded live at Bill Graham’s Filmore East, March and June 1971; and John Mayall’s USA Union from 1970.

Stage 1 of the underpainting will commence right away so please check in again soon.

btw: disegno  (pronounced dee-se-nyaw)  is Italian for “drawing.”


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