-By Eric Fortune

“We accepted the products of science. We rejected it’s methods.” ~ Carl Sagan
This painting is a tribute.

This piece is for the upcoming 20th Anniversary show at Copro Nason Gallery opening this Sat, Aug 17th in the LA area. If you’re in the area it looks like a kick ass show. Also, I rarely have a chance to attend shows I participate in and I’m always curious how the openings go. If you do end up there post some pics!

Let’s start off with the original thumbnails. Originally, I thought it would be cool to show the exposed back. I still think it could be cool and I may do a companion piece someday. I like the idea of light from the window illuminating a section of the mattress. Obviously, for this piece a different path was taken. I think the first sketch may have a heightened sense of mystery but I wanted to engage the viewer more.

Usually, I transfer the sketch then use my photo ref to make the final drawing right onto the watercolor paper. Lately, I’ve found it more helpful to correct the figure’s anatomy on a slightly more refined sketch prior to transferring. It doesn’t add a lot of time as I’m still leaving the rest of the drawing fairly rough. But it does help to reduce unnecessary erasing on the main figure and potentially disrupting the paper’s surface.

Final drawing on watercolor paper

It’s a balancing game here. I want enough information with the pencil that I feel comfortable laying in my paint. At the same time I don’t want to fully render everything. It would waste time especially in darker areas that the paint would naturally give value to. Also wet on wet paint can offer really cool affects that may come off as too contrived if I tried to draw it all in.

While painting this marble table top I wanted to try and let the paint work for me. So I mixed about four colors I planned on working with and started in with a wet base color then moved left adding in other colors when appropriate. It’s acrylic so it’s not going to stay wet forever. One has to be very mindful of time and application. Note that my paint mixture was the consistency of melted ice cream. That is to say, not too thin. When the paint dried I was hoping to see for the most part a surface that resembled marble. There was obviously more painting required to give the surface a subtle reflective quality. Another reason I started here is in the beginning, as you’ll see, I’m trying to paint in some dark areas as a point of value reference. Otherwise I may inch too slowly towards the necessary values. This inching happens anyway. There’s always some back and forth with painting. However, I am trying to cut down on the baby steps. Not always easy for me.

Something cool started to happen with the texture on the wall here. Although there are subtle changes, I try to maintain the basic shape and flow throughout the piece.

Off to the right you can see my scrap paper where I test my colors. It’s a good idea make sure that the color and consistency are where I want them before applying the paint onto the actual painting. It makes even more sense to test it in a spot with similar color and value as the one you’re about to paint on.

Here I tried doing some wet on wet application to try and give the look of bruising or perhaps some infection on the arm. Again, what I thought was dark enough was not. As the rest of the painting progressed I realized repeatedly that the bruising needed to be much darker.

Shower curtain?  Who uses shower curtains? 

What do you do when you’ve been staring at something for too long and need a quick and different perspective? A nice large mirror comes in very handy for a quick change of perspective. Viewing the image on your phone or computer screen can also help. I’m assuming that everyone reading this is locked up in a studio somewhere and lost all of their friends long long ago. Of course, people are a great resource for feedback as well.

This last image is basically the finished piece. Unfortunately, I’m away from my studio and probably need to tweak colors slightly before posting the final image online. I’ll update this post with a finished finished image soon.

UPDATE:  Since I was getting some requests for details I decide to go ahead and upload a few.  Thanks for all the love everyone.  Means a lot!