Close Ups

God is in the details, or so I've been told...

I love to paint. I love it so much sometimes the subject is secondary. All I want to do is play with the colors, like a kid does with his/her favorite toy. Every painting is a new adventure!

The Matilija Poppy Painting is finished!

So, to keep it interesting, I like to change my approach every now and then. "All roads lead to Rome",  I've heard. For me, so far all roads have led me to boredom! I'm too ADD to paint things the same way over and over. Or maybe I just keep searching for that signature way of painting, something that will define my work.

I'm very happy to inform that, after this painting and at least when it comes to contemporary realism, it seems that I am close to find that signature look. This last painting was pure joy and learning. It was also payoff of many years of hard work, investing on developing a painfully slow process.

Now, my classical painting techniques are not really something new and worth reporting. But the pieces are finally starting to look the way I want them to, and I'm very happy about it. What this post is really about is something I have been slowly trying to bring into my work.

I've said this before, I like my works to look like what they are, paintings. I do not just imitate a photograph for the fun of it (why I actually do it is a whole new post on its own!). Within that frame, I have decided to include those initial brush strokes, to reserve them, in a way. Painting with acrylics has allowed me to deconstruct the way I paint. I love when I get the feeling that I can "almost count" the layers needed to paint a picture.

If you wish to see more details about this project please click here.

UPDATE: I had trouble uploading the pictures on this post (for some strange reason), so I made a new one for you to check out those details.

Matilija Poppy Painting Update

It took a little longer, but the painting is finished!

Click on the Matilija Poppy to visit this its Facebook album!

I was told this painting does not look as if it had been made with acrylics, which I took as a compliment. Acrylics do tend to look a little artificial and well, plastic. I would have had a much easier time painting this with oils, but that was not the point. Besides, like I have said before, acrylics allow me to paint many more layers in a shorter period of time, thus gaining a pretty unique sense of depth.

I purposely reserved some areas of the painting where, if you look closely, you will see brush strokes from the initial 'gray' thin coat I applied as I was getting started. That "richness" in my opinion is worth the time and effort, because it brings an additional blending element. More importantly, it emphasizes the fact that this is a painting, not a photograph. I want the audience to appreciate the painting's photographic quality, but I also want them to see the different kinds of strokes and textures obtained by the brushes. To me, that is what makes a realistic painting interesting and alive.

I'm looking into borrowing a good camera to get some quality pictures of all of this. As soon as that happens, I will upload them on the Facebook album I have created for it. Feel free to visit it and tell me what you think.

I guess the smartphone will do!

According to my 'plan', I was supposed to finish this painting this weekend. Guess not! At least I already knew it. I had estimated to take 6 weeks (two sessions per week) to paint each project, but with school and all I just could not meet the deadline. The California Poppies are just gonna have to wait. Like I said before, I'd rather just submit one strong piece.

Picture taken with my phone. A little blurry, for sure.

As for documenting the project, I started to take pictures with my phone. It's not the fanciest or the most apt for the job, but it will have to do for a while. The pictures are grainy and there is no flash, so avoiding blurry pictures is a challenge. Maybe I'll keep it simple for the next couple of paintings and not update as often.

I will have a busier schedule starting Fall, though. So it's very possible I won't paint at all until next year and this camera incident won't even be a problem. Scary thought, but what are you gonna do?

Once this is done, the painting will finally start looking complete!

The Matilija Poppy painting is looking great. I am working on the yellow stems and pistil right now. After that, I will define some more leaves and contours and I will be pretty much done. I'm so looking forward to finish this painting!

Close Ups Update (I lost count)...

Well, this painting is just as time consuming as I thought it would be! This is where experience kicks in. I have to stay focused and visualize the finished piece. If I let its still "halfway cooked" look get to me, I'd start to freak out. You know, that is the recipe for artistic frustration (along with constant streams of rejection, but we ain't talking about that now). Look at that, after all there IS an upside from getting older...

Teaser detail. The whole thing is looking good, I promise.

Right at this stage, I like to indulge into some detail painting. For this work, I chose to bring some of the background bulbs and leaves to an almost finished state. This helps me visualize the finished piece better.

In the end, you would think the hardest part is to mimic the Matilija Poppy's delicate and intricate nature, but it all comes down to the environment. The whole, in this project in particular, will be more than the sum of its parts.

And for the sad news, it's looking like this will be the only new work I'll be submitting for the juried show. Time just has not been on my side. I would rather invest more time into making this painting even stronger.

Close Ups Update

This is the part where I get really antsy. I can visualize the finished piece already yet I can't get rush things! Patience and determination are key in this stage of the project.

After working some volume on the petals, I decided to start bringing some color to the work. The idea is to gradually bring the foliage to life while working the Poppy's overall appearance. After these many layers of color, I need to watch my details and make sure I'm not losing them. Once I have achieved a more elaborated background, I will start incorporating the surrounding green overtones into the flower.

 This painting is about 30% done

Of course, that is easier said than done. I am glad I had a couple of sessions this week to work on this, though. I definitely got a lot done and I'm just a tad behind schedule... I am also painting something completely different that I hope to share in the near future. It is a part of my recent contemporary endeavors, something I'm putting together in the hopes of a future show. Well, at least that's the plan!

Now, back to painting!