Saturday, February 22, 2014

Captain Katarina and the Great Eels

"You are on the deck of a buccaneer’s sailing ship as it is tossed about on the choppy waters of a storm-wracked sea. Between you and the railing running round the side of the ship is Captain Katarina, a hard-bitten woman who looks every part the lady buccaneer. She wears practical leather trews, a finely embroidered, tailored jerkin and a sword-belt round her waist. Her luxurious, long black hair is tied back in a ponytail with a silk ribbon, and a black patch covers her scarred left eye socket. Scimitar in hand, she is pointing at the sea monsters that have emerged from the ocean depths to attack the ship. The sea serpents have long, leathery bodies as thick as tree trunks. The Great Eels open fang-filled maws, ready to snatch any tasty morsel they can from the deck of the ship."

Prompt from Stephen Players Sci-Fi class, which was in turn provided for his use by Jonathan Green from his book Stormslayer.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

04 - Under and Final Painting - Recipe for delicious 'Lines from the 'Verse'


~This step is like making lasagne, lots of different layers~

On a low heat add color and bring to a simmer. Harvest and prep reference for 'organic' lighting, refreshing details, and scrumptious textures. Bring to a boil on medium heat and add final references.
(~5-10 hrs)

Take your Base/Value Study and bring it over to the render oven if you haven't already.
Make sure you're at 300dpi
On a low heat (zoomed out) mix up some value appropriate and desaturated blues,
magentas, violets, and greens.
~boil noodles~

Raise the values a key or two and begin to lay down some fresh glazes for rich flavors.

Apply lovingly to maintain value pattern.

Add a cursory layer of vector line/sine waves on top.
These sine waves are raw and need some time to find their place.

Bring to simmer.
~build a tomato base for sauce~

Cooking the image down takes a minute. 
This is a good time to gather and prep your final round of references from your garden. 

Take your empty floor space, mobile light sources, digital camera, string, and extension cords and emulate: the pose, perspective, lighting and materials within the painting.

~prep some veggies for the tomato sauce~

By now the image should be ready for another few layers.

Download your newly created material and lighting ref into your reference silo,
and while you're in there dig around for desert sand texture and dispersal of stars in the night sky reference.

~mince some fresh herbs n spices like cilantro or basil for tomato base~

Prepare remaining reference.

Chop, peel, slice, dry out (overlay/screen), soak/glaze (multiply) or simply draw from as necessary 
Weave into existing layer hierarchy.
~lay down a layer of noodles and a layer of sauce and ricotta~

Bring to a boil. 
Bump up the heat to medium and start cookin'
Treat these layers the same as previous layers, working without falling into a render hole, and apply colors in values that support the flavor pattern.
~lay down another layer of noodles, sauce, and ricotta~

If flavors aren't harmonizing, add a cup of desaturated blue or violet.
(mulitply or overlay around 10-20%)

While everything is still a little bit in flux revisit the sine wave layers.
This is when you'll really be able to exploit the dichotomous nature of lines from the 'verse and bring out its surreal disposition.
~lay down another layer of noodles, sauce, and ricotta~

Massage the sine waves into place to best support the focal point and movement throughout the rest of the composition.

Add one more layer where you will weave the sine waves together within themselves as well as visually sew the sine waves into the forms they organically interact with in the composition.

~one final layer of noodles and just mozz, then broil for texture~

Final Painting

~This final step is a little like picking weeds out of the garden, or flossing your teeth~

After you've made the best design decisions, preheat the oven to medium high. Bake on middle shelf until image is solid and fluffy all the way through.
(~5-10 hrs)

Depending on how expeditiously or conservatively you've built your painting up to this point this final step may take a while, or it may not take very long at all.

Zoom in to 100%, higher around the focal point, and paint everything together correctly.

Lovingly move over the entire image.
~even behind your last molar~

Brush strokes are like loose change, it all adds up.

When finished, 
let sit out of sight for a few weeks to fully settle.

Enjoy at a later date with close friends. 

*Serve at room temperature with Cabernet Sauvignon and Erik Satie

Sunday, July 7, 2013

03 Value Study - Recipe for delicious 'Lines from the 'Verse'

Value Study

~This step is like making cookie dough~

Draw from goodies in your reference garden for that authentic homemade narrative flavor and build up an accurate range of values while you're at it!
(~5-10 hrs)

Dig into your reference garden for good night photos from the desert to get that accurate range and placement of values.

Block in quickly
~melted butter, flour~

Go back to your reference stores and harvest goodies for structural reference this time.

Prepare a layer of human gesture for additional emotional resonance.

Take your empty floor space and digital camera and generate some reference for the gesture/pose.


Add a few dashes of implied narrative with flavorful objects.

A violin and sheet music will afford you more lines visually and conceptually allow for a subordinate play on words with sound waves being potentially created by lines that are sheet music notation.


A contemporarily dressed individual will avoid concurrent themes of period dress.
Shoes off and a bottle at half way will add a ponderous tone and imply an accessible length of time.
~chocolate chips~
Gather and place reference in a visually accessible area.

Draw until satisfied.*

*Note the dimensions of the composition are no longer successive Fibonacci numbers. 
In this case you may want to switch to other underlying geometric architecture, in this case a root-2 rectangle**.
A golden rectangle yields a lot of empty space around the figure as seen in the sketch. 
Although this isn't a necessary adjustment, it would be similar to baking brownies or lasagne in too large of a pan. 
You may spread your mixture too thin which may result in needlessly dry and unpalletable areas.

~~~~(for fans of geometry and pretentious 'art speak' only)~~~~

**A square root-2 rectangle is constructed by making a square, drawing the diagonal, and then using that diagonal length as the longest side. 

A square-root of 2 rectangle adds a greater aesthetic complexity to the piece, since there is no growth component to relate to the Fibonacci Sequence to the image conceptually.

By having the Universe represented in the master square and the figure placed in the 'addition' to the square, it could be implied that the organic addition to the Universe is human in nature.
With this relationship in mind, the length dimension of this image is the 'Line from the 'Verse.
It could also imply that the line from the 'verse defines a 'human space' which could easily manifest religious tangents if you take 'verse to mean written word.

Monday, June 17, 2013

02 - Base/Sketch - Recipe for delicious 'Lines from the 'Verse'

Once you've gathered all the ingredients, listed in the previous post, you're ready to move onto the first step!

~This first step is a lot like making bread dough~


Imaginatively put hard to find ingredients (**) together in Art-Brain. Mix and extract with 'pencil and paper' onto 'Phi'
(~5-10 hrs)

Mix 'mindfulness of master illustrator Dean Cornwell' and 'meaningful life experience' and pour into all the Art-Brain, as to fully saturate it. 
Let sit.

In a separate space creatively apply 'amateruish understanding of physics' to 'interesting play on words from Firefly'

Picture the whole Universe with all of its sources of electromagnetic energies. 
Next consider the constant barraging of the earth with said energies.
Now consider the visual abstraction of electromagnetic energy as a sine wave. 
This visual representation of energies will react with the phrase 'Verse' (writing arranged with a metrical rhythm and now Universe) and incite the Art-Brain to exploit the duality of abstracted line (sine wave) and visual line on paper.


Add into mixture in Art-Brain

Kneed gently

When the mixture thickens and becomes mentally sticky its too difficult to work with inside the Art-Brain. Leave it alone.
Allow it to leaven before you take it out and put it on paper.

This is the best time to add some 'Phi' or 'Golden Section'
With the pencil prepare the paper with some spiraling squares, or just some vertical and horizontal lines with golden cuts in them.

~bread pan~

Then, again with the pencil, dole out the mixture deftly over the surface of the prepared paper'Phi' will help you spread out the mixture in a meaningful and harmonious way while avoiding a centered/static composition.

It should look like this

*note that placing the figure on the left or top of the composition implies lines into the 'verse.

**if your application of 'physics' to 'play on words' doesn't cause the mixture to thicken, you may have an Art-Brain better suited for representational painting. Incorporating Surreal or Design heavy 'influences' may solve the problem, see if Magritte or Escher help this reaction.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

01 - Ingredients - Recipe for delicious 'Lines from the 'Verse'

Ingredients required to generate a delicious 'Lines from the 'Verse' Painting:

3lbs Art Brain
Phi or Golden Section *
1 Cup 'mindfulness of master illustrator Dean Cornwell' **
2 Cups 'meaningful life experience' **
1 Tablespoon 'interesting play on language from Firefly' **
1 dash 'amateurish understanding of physics' **
Paper (digi or traditional)
Pencil (digi or traditional)
Digital Camera
Reference Image Garden
Empty Floor Space
Mobile Light Sources
Varying lengths of String
Extension Cords
Rendering Oven (preferably Photoshop to better accommodate working with vectors)
25-45 hours time (depending on life context and priorities)

* Phi or Golden Section is rather ubiquitous. If there aren't any references of it on your person, consider going outside.

** Notes on hard to find ingredients

'amateurish understanding of physics' was given to you in High School. Its in there somewhere, dig it up and grab a pinch. If you can't find it watch Carl Sagan's Cosmos again.

'mindfulness of master illustrator' will be the ephemeral summation and appreciation of art in the following manner.
You should start with a visceral resonance with Dean Cornwell's 'Desert Healer'
The amalgam of Cornwell's proportioning of compositional elements, the near flatness of the staging, as well as the narrative it inspires should pull up memories of camping, feelings of weightlessness, and a paradoxical empty fullness.

'meaningful life experience' should involve having spent a lot of time in the emptiness of the salt flats and high deserts of Utah. You should have walked away with a memory of a unique experience that was conducive to allowing your mind and you to feel small, and in the same place and time.

'interesting play on language from Firefly' is from having enjoyed how the in the TV series 'Firefly' they often referred to the Universe as 'the 'Verse'. You thought it gave that particular noun a very human and narrative quality that fell interestingly onto your intellectual understanding of space/time.