Sunday, November 17, 2013

“Hide and Seek Daffodils” — completed oil painting by Paul Baldassini

“We’ve all got it coming, kid.” — Clint Eastwood, The Unforgiven

To secure this Baldassini original artwork  for your collection please call 860-638-0890 today.  Or visit my website to view other works in this series and other series.

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.

Thanks for visiting.


Saturday, January 12, 2013

"Melitzanosalata" — completed oil painting by Paul Baldassini

“The best part of beauty is that which no picture can express.” — Francis Bacon

To secure this Baldassini original artwork  for your collection please call 860-638-0890 today.  Or visit my website to view other works in this series and other series.

Here is the completed painting "Melitzanosalata" (eggplant salad).  The dimensiona are 27 1/4  x 24 inches.  I'm quite happy the way this work turned out and have already started on the next painting in this new series.  The white backgrounds offer all kinds of opportunities and potential for developing interesting compositions.  After working out my ideas through the lens of my camera, digitally editing the reference images allows me yet another creative opportunity to create a pleasing composition before I commit to brushes and paint.

I find it hard to just jump into a painting and get to work.  That's no doubt part of the reason why I have difficulty painting outdoors, en plein air or painting subject matter "from life in natural light", where you have to work, for the most part, very fast).  I know a great many artists find this to be the holy grail of painting accomplishment but its just not for me.  I also think its highly overrated.  What works for me is a methodical and steady approach to painting where I thoroughly enjoy every part of the process right up to signing my name (actually thats my least favorite and I always agonize over where and what color to sign it).

Look for the new work in-progress here very soon!


Monday, January 7, 2013

"Melitzanosalata" — in progress oil painting by Paul Baldassini

“Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.”  — Oscar Wilde

To secure this Baldassini original artwork  for your collection please call 860-638-0890 today.  Or visit my website to view other works in the series.

Here is the Quinacridone underpainting and in-progress overpainting of a new work entitled "Melitzanosalata".   Melitzanosalata means "eggplant salad" buts its actually a dip, very similar to baba ghanoush.  This is the third work in my new series retitled "Tabletop", and utilizes fruits and vegetables from my own garden, some from farmers markets, some from local markets and supermarkets.  I'm also utilizing a minimally painted white background over the entire composition, something I tried on part of "Hypnotic Citrus" the first work in this series.

In this series, I am very involved in EVERY aspect of the work including:

•  growing the produce
•  selecting produce from local sources when not homegrown
•  choosing props including glassware, bowls, plates and fabrics that I've been collecting for over 30 years
•  designing, composing, and styling the still life set-ups
•  photographing the still life in raking natural sunlight with long cast shadows (usually morning light)
•  digital image editing and compositing
•  producing my own custom reference prints
•  and of course, the painting

I bracket each shot 1 F-stop up and down so I can "borrow" opened up shadows and replace blown out highlight detail as necessary.  Often after viewing the images from the photo shoot, it becomes necessary for design reasons to make changes to the layouts.  So, for insurance, during each still life set-up I also photograph a lot of "support players" that I can add and subtract as necessary, and composite into the final composition digitally.  For example, in the above composition I added and/or slightly moved all 4 of the cherry tomatoes as well as the cast shadow from the shallot.  There was an entirely different red tomato sitting in the blue martini glass that had no stem or stem leaf cluster.  I decided that the tomato needed a stem whereas the green tomato has none, so I composited a different "tomato top" from another shot onto the original tomato.  I can't imagine photography or the creative process without a tool like Adobe Photoshop.