“We’ve all got it coming, kid.” — Clint Eastwood, The Unforgiven
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It’s been a very long time since I’ve posted a journal entry on my blog. A full-time teaching position has kept me very busy and along with my photo-restoration work and time spent with my family, I’ve had very little time to paint. Despite all of that I have managed to begin a new series of botanical-inspired works and have recently completed the first in the series, entitled “Hide and Seek Daffodils”.
Its a large work measuring 48 x 22 1/2 inches, oil on prepared panel. The many different varieties of daffodils were picked locally and this April I picked several bunches over the three weeks or so they were growing. They are wonderful to look at on the kitchen table and great fun to draw and paint.
One morning last spring the early morning light was streaming in from the sliding glass doors in my kitchen to the left of a giant bunch of fresh-cut daffodils sitting in a large glass vase on the table. The colors and shadows were spectacular as the flowers, nearly all fully opened, played hide and seek with each other in the gorgeous yellow morning light. I styled the bunch to create a pleasing composition, grabbed my camera and shot at least 6 dozen images. The photo shoot included bracketed lighting and panoramic pans that would later be stitched together with image editing software. Additional styling was, for the most part, unnecessary, but I did some rearranging anyway and took some additional shots as “spares” as I always have to tweak the design once I view all of the images in Photoshop.
I spent 5 or so hours compositing and tweaking the final composition, then adjusted the color and tonal balance and cropped the final reference image and printed it onto a 19 x 13 inch sheet of Epson Ultra Premium Photo paper Luster. I had already prepared a large panel so I got right down to transfering the drawing onto the preprepared panel.
For the transfer I created a custom grayscale image from my original color image using sophisticated channel blending techniques developed and perfected from my many years as a professional image editor. I then have the final grayscale image printed at 100% size onto a proof sheet of 24 lb. laser bond at the local Staples using one of their professional-quality inkjet printers. Once the reference sheet is positioned on the panel, I taped it along the top and slip a large sheet of graphite transfer paper between it and the panel, then tape down the bottom edge. Then, using a red Papermate FlexGrip Ultra ballpoint pen Medium, I trace over the proof sheet transfering all the information I need to create a painting “map” onto the panel. This takes about 2 – 3 hours.
After that I’m ready to paint. My palette and technique is unchanged and I’ve described the process in great detail many times over in previous blog posts, so have a look if you’re interested.
Below are images of the painting in-progress. I’m quite happy with how it came out and plan on continuing with the botanicals series for a long time.
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