The History: Here’s my part of the story. Tell me what you see and start the next chapter…
This lone tower stands as a sentinel in some mythic landscape. Painted on a narrow canvas to limit the total view.
Possibly an unconscious tribute to Stephen King’s Dark Tower, as I imagined it; not obviously dark, but mysteriously alluring instead.
It could also be a stylized kiln or outdoor bread oven.
What can be happening around this odd structure?
What purpose does it serve?
The Technique: How I did this awesomeness!
It starts with a pencil drawing on the canvas of the main image. Then I brushed a solid coat of jet black onto the area around the structure and a thick coat of white on the structure itself, only this time with a pallet knife. Then I used a liner brush to thickly outline the structure and with a pallet knife, gently pulled the shading and shadows away from the outlines, by dragging the black. I let this all cure for about a week, before going to work on the background. With a pallet knife, I pulled the colors thinly across the background, careful to not pull the thick black outlines of the structure. I repeated this process with touches of white or black on the pallet knife to make the sky appear windy.
The Influence: Confessions of a Plagiarist, sort of…
I have to say that Van Gogh’s landscapes deeply influenced the colors I picked and the look I was aiming for. I’m sure I could find other Impressionists as inspirations for this whole series, but the main motivation was to see my sculptures from a different perspective. It worked so well, that my drawing style changed after this series of paintings.
It’s a long and winding road When you buy The Artist’s Stuff: Prints, Mugs, T-Shirts, Pillow, Shower Curtains, and other awesome stuff.
ps: I’ve started the process of organizing all my articles on this feature into the book format. It’s very exciting, satisfying, and at times, overwhelming to write a book. If you like what you have been reading in this feature, Please Support The Book Project based on this feature: “The Creative Process” with a minimum donation of $1/month, I’ll send you a free e-book copy upon publication in 2018.
What inspires an artist?
“All they see” is the first and most literal answer.
For me, that is literally hundreds of gallery & museum exhibits, thousands of books, and tens of thousands of images online.
When asked where to start a book collections, I almost always recommend these art bibles: Janson’s “History of Art” OR Phaidon’s “The Art Book” Both give a nice overview with good pictures. Once you’ve discovered what you are attracted to there most, you can then dig deeper into that area.
If I had to pick only a few of my major influences, which is a very difficult task, it would be Modigliani, Picasso, Van Gogh, & Andrew Wyeth. Here are a few of the best books I recommend from them.
Here are a few others from my personal library, I return to over and over again.
If you have the time, you are free to visit my GoodReads library to see a fraction of the books I’ve read. The ones I remember, that is. Or you can visit the ever growing collection of images on my Pinterest account.
The Materials: Quick! Order this stuff right now, AND You too can make masterpieces!
Stretched Canvas: The Review: Sargent brand offers a double primed surface, which allows you to use less paint on the painting and to take advantage of the pure white for building up layers and depth. As you get more comfortable with your materials, you may find something that suits you better. I get a private label brand at my local Omer Des Serres: www.deserres.ca
nb: I put a sample of a different size as a link to buy some and you can get these in almost any size!
Oil Paints: Winsor & Newton Winton Oil Color is the brand I’ve used most commonly for the basic colours. Like many painters, you will need a large tub of Liquid white, and a tub of black too. As you develop your mixing skills, you may choose others in large quantities. Paints with higher quantities of Cadmium, Sink, or Lead tend to have more vibrant colours, but are much more toxic to use. Warning: if using these, never sharpen your brush with your mouth or fingers… actually, this is a good rule for all paints.
Brushes: The Review: It’s best to have natural fibres, like Hog hairs – 100% Pure Hog Hairs = No Shedding. Make sure to have some paint thinner nearby while working to help keep the brushes clean. Don’t let them get gummed up. With care quality brushes will last many years. It’s handy to have a large selection of brushes like the one in this kit: Fan: Size 4, 8 Flat: Size 2, 6, 10, 14, 18, 30 Round: Size 2, 6, 8, 12, 14, 20, Flat Brush: Size 5.
Pallet Knives: A basic set is more than enough to work with, but there are a many marking effects that can be accomplished with the stranger looking ones… so go ahead and have some fun. Here are two sets I recommend for their variety, flexibility, and quality: 1- CONDA 11 Piece Stainless Steel Spatula Palette Knife, 2- Raih 9 Stainless Steel Special Effect Painting Knife Set Pallet Artist’s Spatula.
Paint Thinner: You can go all out and get the Speedball Art Products Mona Lisa 1-Gallon Odorless Paint Thinner. The lack of door helps work in smaller studios and it keeps well for a long time, if well capped. If you are working in a well ventilated area, you can grab some paint thinner from the local hardware store. Keep it in a mason jar and use it as you paint to help keep the brushes clean.
Note: You should be able to clean the brushes with dish soap, after you’ve been soaking them in thinner. Just wear thick rubber gloves so as not to get the paint and chemicals on your skin. It will irritate it and get absorbed into your system.
Paint Mixing Pallet: Get a wood one, it is easier to maintain with oils. Any local art supply store will have inexpensive ones in various sizes. If it feels comfortable to hold, get that one!
Photoshop for Mac: The Review: You could use the free “ MAC Photos” program or Picassa and get similar results, but Photoshop offers you the flexibility of presenting yourself as a pro photographer, like no other program. There’s a reason it’s considered the best of the best, after all. So, this allows you the possibility of selling this service to others and funding more of your creativity
Apple MacBook Pro 15.4″ Laptop: The Review: You may choose to get an iMac for the bigger screen, and I couldn’t disagree with the beauty of working with the 24” screen. I picked the laptop, because of the need to be mobile and the flexibility of multi-purposing it to use for client demos. As an alternative to the weight of this model, I would suggest the MacBook Air 13”. Most of us have become accustomed to mobile device size screens and it is much easier to carry around.
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T6 DSLR: The Review: My first DSLR camera was the EOS Rebel T3. This one is vastly superior to the old model. Canon has a well deserved reputation of having top rated cameras. It requires a little play time to master it, and that time will be lessened by defining a clear idea of what you want to do with it, then jumping on YouTube for the multitude of How To videos. If you want a smaller camera to carry around, try Canon EOS M10 Mirrorless Digital Camera OR go small & powerful with the Canon PowerShot Digital Camera with 3-Inch LCD & built in wifi.
Canon PIXMA MX492 Inkjet Printer: The Review: For me this has been the easiest to us for cleaning and cartridge replacement. It works reasonably well with recycled inks and the wireless is easy to set-up. The Canon has worked best for me on ink usage. When purchasing printers, always consider the cost of ink replacement… for the most part, this is the big difference right now in printers. For big reproduction lines it is better to outsource. For scanning, they are as good as the camera in them… this is one reason I’m a fan of Canon products. It does do a nice job on printing photos on good photo paper, and the black print is crisp and clean, provided you do regular cleanings and keep it dust free.