Thursday, November 10, 2011

last paint day of the year


Yesterday, we went to one of the regular paint day attendees' house near Crescent. She lives on top of a hill with a good view across a lot of rolling fields, a little church in the distance, and some timber backing the property. Perhaps more unusually for southwestern Iowa, she has a small Hindu temple on her property, which unfortunately for us was still in the process of being re-shingled when we were there.

After touring around a bit, I decided I was cold and preferred to paint inside with her rather companionable Maltese. (Sadly I discovered I was unable to scratch her tummy and paint at the same time -- apparently my motor coordination is not quite as advanced as I had thought.) There were a number of floor-to-ceiling windows in the living room and dining room, but they framed views of: 1. the timber 2. a field 3. another field. Which are all pleasant, but also all things I have already painted in the last two months. SO. She also had a number of interesting objects and sculptures scattered about, so I sat down in front of a large tile wall sculpture of Ganesh, the elephant-headed god, and started drawing.

For once I actually kept track of my progress -- largely because this is one of the more intensive paintings I've done of late; the drawing itself took me about two hours, and the painting another two or three.

So, first, the sculpture I was drawing from:

 I did the underdrawing in Micron pen (clearly I should buy, or request for Christmas, some sepia-toned pens.)

Here's the finished drawing. (In case anyone didn't know, the swastika was originally a very old symbol of peace and other various good things in Hinduism and Buddhism. In Japan shrines and temples are usually marked on city maps with a swastika. Its use by the Nazi Party is one of the grosser appropriations in history, I would say.)

I took a nap when I got home from paint day (our host made us some tasty spinach-cheese samosas and a rice-potato dish with raisins, cranberries, and apricots, as well as sort of lemony cheesy dessert called something like "birfee".) When I woke up I decided my painting needed some creative license, so I decided that Ganesh now exited on a red wall.

And a yellow floor. (You can also faintly see my masking in this photo. I was trying for reflective surfaces, but I didn't really succeed.)

The one annoyance about doing a Micron underdrawing is how much painting then feels like doing an elaborate coloring book page. I'm still developing this style, I guess.  (These pictures were obviously taken last night. Nocturnal painting for the win! I finally moved the stand lamp over by my desk so my head doesn't block the light. :P)

 Here it is with the first washes all laid out.

Aaaand here it is with shading and the masking removed.

I put a little more color in the highlight areas so they weren't blindingly white, and voilĂ , the finished product! (slightly touched up in Photoshop.)

This one won't be going up for sale as a print, because I feel uncomfortable about selling a holy image from a religion not my own. Nevertheless, it was fun to paint. 

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