Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Make a Remark

This is my painting for Gallery Nucleus's Curiouser and Curiouser show opening this Saturday. Follow this link to learn more about the show.

When asked to do a piece for this show, I knew right away that I wanted to paint the Red Queen, but my way. I wanted to paint an image that didn't automatically make you think of Alice in Wonderland, something that would just be a cool painting. I had a plan in mind before starting this painting, an idea of what I wanted to do and where I wanted to take it, unfortunately it didn't quite happen as I had wanted, and I'll explain why.

I originally wanted to paint in oils, but I knew that I would be cutting it close with the deadline. So, I decided to paint with acrylics. The surface is 16"x 20" birch that I sanded, gessoed, sanded again, gessoed once more and then finished with one more sanding. I decided I would use Golden Open's which I have messed around with before on other surfaces and quite enjoyed. However while painting this painting, I went through it . . . it was a struggle and fight every bit of the way . . . I was reminded of the frustrations of painting and what it was like when I was first learning how to paint. I'm not sure what the problem was? Was it the Golden Acrylics? Was there something else wrong?

When I paint with acrylics, I build thin layers of paint on top of one another, no real details, just blocking in . . . once I'm happy with the way it's coming along, I get out the small brushes and finish with the details. I did that with this painting and it seemed fine. It was when I began detailing that the problems started, and it was too late to start over.

When painting with acrylics, you must know that the color and value you place down will dry darker than the color you first put down, that is a given. And like I said, I have used the Golden Open's on other surfaces and they seemed to have worked great? For some reason, while painting this painting, the paint would dry WAY DARKER than what I mixed and put down . . . to get the highlights on the top of her hand for example took layer after layer after layer. At one point I even experimented and put pure white down to see what would happen and that too dried as a light grey. Another strange thing happened. At one point, I dipped my brush in water to clean off a bit of paint, and it was as if I took some turpentine to an oil painting, the water lifted the layers of paint beneath . . . talk about frustrations . . . !

So, by the end of the painting, I had painted the face three times and the main hand three or four times, it took days to do a painting that normally should have taken me two days, three days tops.

I decided to compensate for what was happening, and understanding that my time was dwindling away, I decided to go half detail and half painterly with this painting, finishing with some palette knife painting, so I focused my detail where I want people to look and was loose and more expressive in other areas.

I rather enjoy the final look of the painting and the struggle I went through to finish was odd, but also a memory that I will cherish as it tested my character as well as my patients. I hope if in the L.A. area you will have time to see the show so you can see the painting in person.

Here's another photo taken of the painting. Seems like every picture taken captured something different? There are bits in this photo that are more accurate, and bits in the one on top that look close . . . hopefully together, these two pictures will give you an idea of how the original looks?


Blogger jcgonzalez said...

Amazing work, as always!

9:52 AM  
Blogger alexis said...

I don't know who you had for an illustration teacher but I had Herzberg and I remember once he said that as artists, we are also problem solvers. It's awesome to know you struggled with this so much because it seems you "solved" lots of problems.. to me this came out really well. It seems to have more texture this way, maybe because of all the issues? I dig.

10:10 AM  
Blogger Bowie said...

Wow Jason this one is so amazing!!! Woooow I love this piece so much,her hands are so so real!! Her face, the colors and her clothes are so real!!! This one is sooooo cool!!! Amazing!!!

10:25 AM  
Blogger Daniel Bejarano Casarino said...

Great painting Jason, despite the problems you did a terrific job I like the final result, people will enjoy it for sure.

10:27 AM  
Blogger kencoogan said...

Jason, whatever you did, it certainly worked!!! It's really given the painting a proper eerie feel to it.

10:44 AM  
Blogger W. K. Moore said...

Zow!... (translated - fantastic!)! Gesture, creepiness, painterliness, staging, raging... - an all-in-one horror show. Belongs on the cover of Fangoria.. or the Sat. Eve Post!

10:50 AM  
Blogger Aaron Wilkin said...

Looks sick man!!!!!! The mood in this painting is creepy, and it's very eye catching!!! It's something different, unusual and amazing!! Well done!!!!

1:58 PM  
Anonymous Johann Moisés said...


2:35 PM  
Blogger Nori Tominaga said...

impressive. thanks for sharing the process with us.

3:23 PM  
Blogger joverine said...

diggin the final
and I really appreciated you sharing the process and struggles.
I've been wanting to dig out the old acrylics but this blog post struck a bit of anxiety through me due to the same frustrating memories of the past-yay digital!

I may one day dive into oils as I've never tried it...or just stick to pens/marker...


3:37 PM  
OpenID JP said...

Beautiful piece, and I agree, the looseness and the sense of battle in the brushwork only helps the image. do you think you'll ditch he open acrylics?

9:45 PM  
Blogger Jonathan said...

Awesome Jason love the painting, I feel your pain with the acrylics, I remember back in college I went through the same ordeal of the paints drying in a different value than what I originally put down, another main reason I paint in oils now. But thats weird that you put straight white and it dried grey, that is really weird, anyways the painting looks great though! Congrats with the final and the show!

10:22 PM  
Blogger Damion009 said...

I love the rings man!!! those look like fighting hands. beautiful work man!

1:31 AM  
Blogger Patrick Strogulski said...

Your struggle has been worthwhile Jason. The combination of painterly and detail parts makes it especially interesting to me. I love the creepy expressiveness.
Another great painting !!!

4:50 AM  
Blogger Niall O loughlin said...

Friggin amazing Jason, I know how fustrating acrylics can be, but as you know they can also be very rewarding.

4:30 PM  
Blogger Jon Casey said...

hey jason, this came out GREAT! The paint may have lifted because you smoothed the surface so much. I love to use a smooth surface too. I will use a layer of molding paste, it is absorbant and incredibly smooth, a tip I actually learned from Sean Cheatham. Just a thought, may not have been your problem, but maybe you want to try that sometime.

5:52 PM  
Blogger Scott said...

it certainly looks like a whole lot of work has gone into this piece. Very textured, scary, and real looking. It's like she really is lurching out of the page to you.

2:31 AM  
Blogger Larry said...

Sometimes I think...unless there is a struggle, a stink'n real fight with the thing, then the artist is not so fully necessarily engaged. If we aren't pushin reaching just beyond what we know works comfortably for us...then its just a job, a deadline...but it becomes ART...when it in part slays us, and we have to reach deep down and find the resolve to conqueor the very thing that would ridicule and laugh at our failure.

When completed...its not just a painting that has been done well, but a victory over the fears, the questions, the doubts, the taunting...

In this case...this creepy character is staring at you from the birch, daring you...laughing, and you kicked her butt!!!!!! hahahaaaaa...

The level of bringing that hand forward with strong values variation, great contour edges so that it feels so stinking right there in one's face. And you can feel the air, the space from her hands to that ghastly crazy personae...

Love this piece. You killed it!

10:35 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Hey, I recognize that woman! Dorena always does a great Red Queen impression, i.e. "Off with their heads!" etc.
Good job and good choice of a model!

6:56 PM  
Blogger Charles DA COSTA said...

thank you very much jason !!! to give me so much happiness by your talent !!!

2:52 PM  

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