Painting Garden of Giants

Monday 2 October 2006
The last summer has been really harsh to me. Instead of vacations I've been trapped in intensive work and constant hassle, leaving so little place for artistic matters. A too long period without touching a brush make me unavoidably drift towards a sort of depressive mood, and this is not good.
Going back to painting was hard at first, but at very first only. The pleasure to melt fresh colors, the smell of paint, the soft movement of my wrist caressing the canvas, all those sensations where recalled like a deep breath of vivid air.
061002 Garden of Giants - detail
Tears of Joy in the Garden of Giants, oil paint version, had been standing there in my room for a long time. Since I made another painting in between, I guess I hadn't touched it up for 6 months. Actually it was entirely covered, but in most places it was still the dry layer, rough and tern. There is still a lot to do with this wide painting, and I'm not in a hurry.
I've almost repainted the whole glass dome, trying to fix some architectural distortions here and then. Although it was really easy digitally, the glow effect on the dome is really hard to achieve with oil paint, and even though it looks great now I'm not fully satisfied.
061002 Garden of Giants - detail 2Then I switched to the first character's features. Here face has been reworked, mostly a second (or third) paint layer, then a lot of detailing. I added grain texture, cracks and artifacts on her skin that is supposed to be something between plant bark and soft female skin.
I also started to paint the tears, shining in the bright light.

The plant's shoulder, here back, some plants where detailed here and then.

I feel like a 3D renderer

While I paint I keep thinking about the light rules all the time.
The light in this painting comes from upper left, rear to front. Colors in the light have brighter, warmer tones, while in the shadow they are colder (grey, blue tones). I think it has something to do with diffraction, but I'm not sure why the transition between a lit surface and a cast shadow gets tinted with a more saturated tone.
A surface that is lit from behind in such way that the light shines through will have a very saturated tint. To obtain this tint it's necessary to clean up your brushes properly, then to tame primary colors only, with a fair amount of yellow in it to get some warmth.
In comparison, surfaces on which light falls directly before bouncing toward our eye, are much less saturated ( see the branch on the shoulder compared to the translucent leaves?)
Also, to achieve glossiness with paint, a surface must always leave a gap for a brighter color ( that means: never paint a surface with pure white ). The white spot is called specular spot; it is the result of the light source itself reflecting on a highly glossy surface.
By looking at how light reacts on casual objects you get to observe such a variety of effects. Sometimes, facing a unpredictable result, you have to search for physical reasons. There always physical reasons for everything.
However, what's great with painting as opposed to photographing for instance, is that you have a the freedom to cheat, by exaggerating an effect to emphasize another for instance.
Anyway, I could go on and on, but I consider that before I can teach anything, I still have so much to learn...


Feb. 17, 2009 14:36
1. What paint do you use (brand)
2. What do you do with your paint when not painting? I mean, getting the exact same shade twice is almost impossible, at least for me..
Feb. 23, 2009 2:01
Mostly I am using the Rembrandt series by Talens, which are ultra-fine oil paints and work very well for me.
I'm not sure I got the second point well, but I'll comment on the shade replication issue. Indeed, it's hard in practice to get the same shade. Though, we can get very close; moreover we rarely need to get exactly the same ( if so we would rather use computers and RGB numbers I guess!). To connect to an existing shade I can apply a bit of pure medium to wet the surface, or use semi-transparent colors.
Oct. 06
2/10/2006 Painting Garden of Giants