Evolution of a Painting part 5 – Finished Work

Finished…………. I call it “Birth”. Bit obvious but I like the title.

I am really please with this painting. This is my third attempt at oil painting after years of painting with acrylics. I am soooooo happy with the oil paints. I could not recommend them enough to anyone who is thinking of giving it a shot. I should have done it years ago……… Of course, that is just my opinion. Each to their own.

This one took me a month to paint due to work commitments, so more will come in time. Meanwhile I have some older stuff that I will post  as well as “Stuff that I like”. On that thought, here is a link to an interview with Chuck Close. He is an inspiration to me. The man is technically perfect. I only hope that one day I can be as good as him. Check it out if you have never seen his work.


Anyway, I hope you like my painting and I intend to continue posting work.


Evolution of a Painting part 4

Step 11

I am really getting into this now as the painting is starting to come to life. The flesh tones are finished including the face and hand. I was REALLY pleased with the hand. There Is a step in here that I missed as I forgot to get a photo that night. Before roughing in the foliage I painted the cracks. A good crack should have three edges. (1) The actual crack (2) The side wall of the crack and (3) a bead of light along the leading edge. You will be able to see this much better in the finished pic.

Step 12

I have now finished the foliage coming through the body as well as the line of shadow beneath each leaf. I have also begun roughing in the ivy coming from the head. Almost finished now. Just one more shot at the painting and I am done.

Evolution of a Painting part 3

Step 8

I just want to begin with……. Please forgive the crappy photography. There is so much light bouncing off the wet paint here that it is very distracting.

So in this step I am starting to get into the good stuff. As I said before, I always leave the main focus of the painting till last. Its more fun that way 🙂 The flesh tones are just rough for now. I try to get coverage at first before I start refining the image. Also the oil paints start to get very wet and thick which makes blending hard.

Step 9

I am now smoothing out the initial tones and have started roughing in the hair to be added to the following night….. when the paint is a little more manageable. I am left handed so I paint from right to left so as not to smudge the work already done.

Step 10

This stage is not that different than the previous one. More smoothing of the flesh tones…….. due to my level of anal retention 🙂 as well as roughing in the hand. I used to hate painting hands. They are difficult because they convey so much emotion….. sounds weird. A good hand can make a painting. A poor hand will make the figure look  lifeless.

Evolution of a Painting Part 2

I have skipped a step here because I was just refining that background more and blah blah blah…….. boring, boring. Ye not much happened

So here is Step 5

In this step I have started roughing in the concrete/rock wall that is within the ray of sunlight. Therefore it is full of colour rather that the cold blue/grey concrete in the dark areas.

Step 6

This step was really just about refining the rough work that I had done the previous night. You can see I am adding more detail to to the rocky wall as well as the ground beneath it. I am deliberately not putting too much detail into this background so as not to distract from the main subject.

Step 7

In this step I have filled in the diffused light in front of the main subject and added a rough shadow as well

Will post more steps tomorrow 🙂

Evolution of a Painting

I have always wanted to document a painting, not so much as a “Step by Step” but more like a diary. This is the whole reason why I started this blog………….. But lets be frank….. I am also doing this because if no one knows that I exist then I will never have any hope of being a full time artist 🙂

So here is my documented oil painting. I call it “Birth”

Each step was a session of painting usually lasting about four hours. Since I work full time (not as an artist 😦 ) I do all of my painting in the evenings and on weekends so by the time I get cracking it is usually about 9pm……… Hence only four hours a shot. I would like to apologize for the crappy photography. Although I have a reasonably good D-SLR camera, I am by no means a good photographer so there is a lot of light reflection coming off the wet oil paint etc.

Step 1

This first step was more about sketching the subject onto the canvas than getting a lot of paint down. My paintings are very planned so I usually begin with a sketch on paper before moving to the canvas. You can see I have only just started putting paint down.

Step 2

I always work from background to foreground with a painting. So I tend to work in sections rather that roughing the whole thing out at once. (I do all of my rough work in Photoshop. It is soooooo much easier than doing lots of rough sketches and colour samples). So in this step I am roughing in the concrete blocks of the background, working from light to dark.

Step 3

Still refining that background before I move on to anything else. It keeps me more excited with a painting if I leave the “Good Stuff” till last 🙂 Also it helps not to smudge paint everywhere if I work in sections.

Gas Mask Sculpture

This sculpture is the physical version of The Gas Mask acrylic painting shown in the previous post.

As an artist I have never done anything like a sculpture…… if you could call this a sculpture. Its probably more like an installation piece. I have always wanted to do an art piece around a gas mask with blue sky coming out of the lenses which is how the painting originated but really I wanted to do it in physical form.

The story behind this one is slightly different to The Gas Mask painting. In this instance the gas mask represents a plant that has grown from a desolate war zone. It has taken on the characteristics of the war zone and has grown in the form of a soldier. However the light coming from the eyes symbolize a sense of  renewal.

Once again, although you cant see it too well in the photos, there is blue sky behind the lenses.

The helmet is a genuine U.S. Army M1 Steel Pot helmet used by the U.S from WWII up until the 80’s

The gas mask is a genuine Soviet era Russian gas mask

The base, made from an old plant pot, is supposed to represent the battle ground. I used old pieces of concrete, rusty barbed wire and real empty .308 shells to add a touch of realism. The stem of the plant is supposed to be like a gas mask hose.

As mentioned before, the eyes light up

The Gas Mask – Acrylic painting on canvass

This is probably my favorite of all of my paintings so far. It is acrylic on canvass and is about 70cm by 120cm.

It is supposed to be a depiction of a desolate world that has been ravaged by war, famine, climate change, take your pick it doesn’t really matter. The point is….. there is nothing left. The environment is harsh and stormy. The main character (I always think of my paintings as a still shot within a larger story) has been wondering this wasteland for ever, looking for any semblance of life and becoming more and more haggard. In the distance he see’s something glowing and goes to investigate where he finds the gas mask along with a sense of hope.

The gas mask has glowing blue sky coming from the eye glasses. It is the reflection of the dreary, toxic sky above accept that the reflection is of a better world. So basically this symbol of war and destruction has the power to return life to a desolate world. The mask is the antithesis of war symbolizing  hope.

With this painting I was trying to go for depth of field. You will notice that the hand, forearm and the gas mask are in sharp focus while the rest of the subject is softly blurred. I was trying to give a greater sense of depth to the painting. I ended up doing a sculpture of this painting, well…… more of an installation piece. I will post pictures of it soon 🙂acrylic painting - The Gas Mask