Friday, September 2, 2016

How to Paint Like Turner

linking to paint party friday: am revisiting a cool epic painting project I undertook in 2012! Some of you might remember/have seen these before, but I just recently ran across this from the Google Play store! I suppose it's an ebook? Really fascinating, in any event! And it mega brought me back to when I myself was churning out JMW Turner oil reproductions on driftwood.


How to Paint Like Turner

JMW Turner is one of the greatest artists Britain has ever produced. His watercolours, with their extraordinary effects of shifting light and dramatic skyscapes, are especially highly regarded. For the first time, the secrets of Turner’s technique are revealed, allowing present-day watercolourists to learn from his achievements.

This book combines unrivalled knowledge of Turner’s working methods from Tate curators and conservators with practical advice from some of the world’s most respected watercolour experts.
This book is for watercolourists, which is a medium I'm not as happy in as with oils, but certainly I am very interested in this book.

(Any watercolourists among you: would love to see what you thought of this book.)

 I would especially be curious to speculate how my owm project would've developed if I'd had a book like this to guide me along during the sojourn. Even though oils are not watercolours I'm pretty sure I could have learned something.

In any event, I didn't seriously set out to reproduce, 100%, Turner's ouvre. If nothing else, the medium makes that task impossible.

For instance, Battle of Trafalgar is a painting that is taller and wider than me in real life! That in itself makes any attempt and desire at absolute reproduction impossible.
Battle of Trafalgar in process on old barn wood; Marshall, NC, 2012

As well, the wood itself, with its flaws, pockmarks, and texture, added something to the work that Turner's did not have. That would be my contribution to the piece.

The obvious third reason is my skill level clearly is not the same as the old master's. Try as I might, clearly I do not have his genius, but neither did I have his timeframe.

A Country Blacksmith disputing upon the Price of Iron on panel in progress (underpainting), Marshall NC 2012

As stated before, the purpose of the Kickstarter project (seen here) was to recreate, one per day, a Turner piece onto a piece of wood. For me, artistically, fabricating one of these per day was an exciting technical as well as creative challenge. Some of the pieces were no big deal to pull off in a few hours; whereas others took like 12+ hours to finish. Some, in which i had to use layering techniques, were only possible to complete over 5+ day time - what I would do in this case is have 5 simultaneously in production, and work them all every day so that at the end of the 5 day period (if I wanted 5 layers) I would be finished with 5.

In general am very pleased with the result, and am happy with the artistic outcome that the raw wood and the frenetic pace allowed me to capture of Turner's work, without, clearly, having the collection be anything like a perfect replica of Turner's work. I am glad to have been able to put some of my own artistic process and limitations into these wonderful, epic pieces.

In any event, I will get the book, and see if I do anything interesting with it.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Final Video Encapsulation

I had forgotten to submit the video I created!

I made this video a couple of weeks ago to encapsulate a bit, and summarize as best I could, the experiences I have had in creating not just this ultimate Turner reproduction, but the entire project as a whole.

Needless to say, it was very encouraging and nice viewing all that wonderful old footage, and it reminded us of the great and wonderful times that we had in the past making lovely art. Definitely in many ways, "those were the days".

I was happy to see  how easy the YouTube video editor has proven to be. Since losing out on almost all the technical and computer equipment I used to have at my disposal to create videos - for instance, the original Epic Painting Project video from 2011 - I had to scramble around for a few days looking for the best, quickest-to-learn, and inevitably affordable option. When I had pretty much discarded all my options, and was feeling somewhat desperate, I somehow miraculously found the youtube video editor that can be found here.

It's pretty shocking how time-consuming creating a video is. I would say, not counting actually searching for raw materials, the 13-minute piece took easily 20 hours - considering I didn't even need to worry about talking heads/audio, it is an amazing time sink.

I had recorded a small talking head piece, but it ended up being rubbish - bad audio and incoherent to boot - so it seemed vastly better to me to do it the way I did.

In any event, it seems like a lovely project with which to mark a finale for this exciting time in my life.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

FInished, sent to the mail, etc!

Just a quick note to say that I very happily mailed off the lovely painting to where it will hopefully be received with joy and glee!

It went to the coast, so I imagine that it went to a place like this:
"Sunrise at Carolina Beach, North Carolina" by Bigroger27509 - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons 

... or maybe not

In any event, I just wanted to post a few final pics of the thing, some close ups, that sort of thing

Last thing I will do is hopefully before the 25th a nice edited video showing how it all came to be. Nothing Oscar-winning, but something incorporating the footage I already have.

Not that I would turn down an Oscar, necessarily.

And so it ends, the project I will always fondly remember as the one I undertook with a broken leg!

 object size (coffee on hand)

light conditions were weird that day, all the clouds made the colour be crazy

detail of people

detail of right

detail of centre, boats, etc

detail of left end

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Finally videos of project!

I have finally uploaded the short videos I shot during the prepping and painting process of my most recent project! The piece itself is finished, and just awaiting drying time to arrive at its final destination. I was very sorry to see the project end! And only wish that more wood & Turner aficionados roamed the earth so that I could never stop having these paintings to work on.

At first I was using what I thought was a legit Blogger feature (uploading videos) but quickly folks informed me that no video showed up, but only a still. So I decided to just wait till I had a moment to upload stuff on YOuTube then put the links in that way.

But I ended up having bizarre trouble uploading the videos onto YouTube, for the simple reason that the last time I uploaded videos on YouTube was in the dinosaur days in which you had to upload the video onto some video editing software, then convert it with some 3rd party software (we used 5 square), then upload it on the site. The alternate has been to have a mobile device to shoot the video, then upload it that way, but it always made my device crash and take years.

Finally I decided to just Google if a way existed to upload videos from Google + to YOuTube - and it was the easiest bloody thing on earth! So I went, did that - it took all of 35 minutes, and now it's done.

First video is from 3 years ago, from when Jimbo worked on the piece of wood and explained his method, rationale, etc.

Second video is of a random painting process, once again from the last time I worked on this project in 2012:

This third video is the initial wood prep for this particular project, the fire of the house of commons:

This one was taken July 24th, 20 minutes before I broke my leg - an experience that tainted my summer as can well be imagined:

This other one is a video I shot after gessoing the wood and discussing materials:

This video goes into a colour choosing protocol I sometimes use when I paint (I was not in a great mood this time because my leg was giving me trouble):

This one is the one where I finally paint!

and last but not least, here is a completely gratuitous video of Jim's hair being blown about by a fan. His hair is sculpture in its own right

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Yet More Updates

Since I'm at the home stretch, progress goes more quickly

I will simply post photos & at this time let them speak for themselves

first thing done, when I had done my blue swatches 

first audience and all of 'ghost' bridge done

after skies added in
As can be seen in the last one, it is really starting to look like the thing.

Updates and Process

Well on my way to finishing, I present some images from recent progress:

As can be seen, all the image of the main image has been laid out in white. Now is just a matter of laying out the rest of the groundwork, and finishing the edges.

I also have a few photos and videos of process:

Painting setup. Due to leg injury am forced to paint on couch with leg raised

Swatch studies, so that I can both pick paints I want, and see how new combinations look.

video explaining swatch process
Now that i have begun the painting process in earnest, the fun time has begun! All the preparation has led to this moment. It is a fairly quick process, if I have the chance to just sit down and paint, from here to termination. I have picked the shapes of the holes to inform how the composition will go, using the natural holes in the wood to represent where holes, dark areas, or tunnels were in the composition. Also the lines have been matched up to where horizon lines or the limits on the Bridge. In any event, I am very happy to have gotten this far, in spite of all weird obstacles. Am also adding a few other photos for a blog post I neglected to write a few days ago, re. actual preparation of the wood.

Wood in process of being clear gessoed

Wood in process of being clear gessoed

Wood in process of being clear gessoed

Video of Wood in process of being clear gessoed

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Process Coloured Sketch

I have done one coloured  study, and it ended up taking a long while, because I possibly spent an two hours or more per layer.  Halfway through this I was like "is this really necessary?" but by then I was fully committed and couldn't turn back.

So I am sharing all the layers, same pencils, etc. This is a throwback to a printmaking technique that I learned in college called lithography:

under this process, a person can create a complex composition by adding the colours in layers. IE first the yellow, then you ink the stone with that colour and run it through the paper, and wash, rinse, repeat for every colour, manipulating the stone so that the proper things are highlighted. The trick is to match the paper so that it all fits together. I am doing a crappy job of describing it, but what I'm basically doing is doing it a colour at a time, with the watercolour pencils, and having it all add up.


Pink before watercolour

Pink after Watercolour 

Red before Watercolour 

Red after Watercolour 

Blue + touchups (E brown, black, etc)
Overall pretty satisfied with how it came out- some thigs I am unhappy about insofar as tonalities, but these problems would be resolved with oils because this medium of just using like 7 or 8 colours only has its limits