Illuxcon is an annual art convention dedicated to fantasy art with a heavy focus on traditional art. Much of my commercial work is often digital, and doesn’t offer me the chance to work traditionally. So I always look forward to Illuxcon, where I can finally get the brushes and paint out and really sink into some real painting. This year I have abandoned my usual watercolors and gone in for some classical oil work.
Today I’d like to share some of the work that I will be bringing to the show as well as the process by which I am painting them.
In the steps shown above, I am working as follows:
For the drawing I am using acrylic ink on Panel. I find acrylic ink to be great for starting a painting as it can be applied quickly, it dries immediately, and it isn’t as messy to paint over as pencil is.
Switching now to traditional oils, I lay in tones with Umbers and Siennas, mixed with titanium white to establish my shapes.
Now technically, the imprimatura is just meant to be a flat fill, but I tend to sneak a little grisaille in with my imprimatura to keep things moving along. I was raised on video games and nuclear energy, not windmills and tiddly-winks. Things have to get moving fast here or I am going to lose it.
2.5. EAT A TOASTED AND LIGHTLY BUTTERED ENGLISH MUFFIN
I don’t need to explain myself here. They are delicious.
Using umbers I now push up the shadows and highlights to really nail down my lighting. After this I set the painting aside for several days until it is fully touch-dry.
4. DEAD COLOR
Dead color pass to begin to fill in colors and work up chroma. This is perhaps the scariest stage of the painting. More often then not, I am really happy with the underpainting and would just as soon not disturb it. But the image cries out to be seen in color, so on we must go.
4.5 KEEP CALM
After laying in a thin glaze with medium and color, I work final shadows, highlights and details in.
While this method is not new, it does have a long a decorated history of just working. The stages listed above were used by classical baroque and dutch-flemish artists for centuries because it was more or less foolproof way at arriving at a powerful image. (Just don’t screw up your drawing!)
That means that even a shiftless lay-about like my cat could paint something decent if they stuck to the manual. Not that he ever will. Sure, because he is a cat; but also, I think if he were human he would still be too lazy. You can just tell with some creatures.
For medium I am using walnut alkyd medium, which is a great medium if you are wanting to go non-toxic in your studio. One of the best manufacturers for this is M. Graham and that is who you should go with if you are interested in trying this out.
My walnut alkyd medium is made for me by actual bees. Well, they are wasps at least. Or maybe ground hornets. Anyway, I’m using their winter food storage as a medium and I am not sorry. If they wanted me to be sorry then they shouldn’t have been winged, stinging insects and they shouldn’t have built their nest outside my window.
For the 3 dragons, (there is a third and secret dragon still on the easel) I work on Ampersand gessoed panel. Or as we call it in the field, “the Cadillac of Masonites.”
While the dragons were painted on panel, “Mean Tweets” was painted on the divine Belgian Linen.
Fun fact about Belgian Linen: It is pound for pound worth more than gold, and is in fact, what the paintings in Valhalla are painted on. It may well be the finest painting substrate in the known galaxy.
It’s just that good.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this little tour. All of the drawings and paintings here will be available at Illuxcon, October 18-22 in Reading, PA. I hope to see you there!