Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Is And About

I've just spent two full days doing preparatory work on my new painting.  I know me.  I've lived with me for years, and I know I have the attention span of a gnat.  As a matter of fact, if a gnat and me were in a staring contest, I'd blink first.  So, I don't like to expend too much energy on endless sketches and prep work for a painting.  I like to keep a little in the tank and save some guess-work for the main event.  It keeps me interested.  But sometimes these things need to be done, and when that's the case, I roll up my sleeves and get cracking.

Here is a thumbnail idea for my latest:

My concept is this:  A lobster boat getting ready for the day as the sun comes up.  Pretty simple.  The foreground will be cool shadows while being back-lit by a warm, glowing sunrise, like the color sketch I've shown at the top of the page.  It's a scene I've witnessed many times when I did this kind of work.  I didn't have a photo specifically of it, so I posed myself and my beautiful partner Ellen's son Luke for the characters.  By the way, I think it's perfectly fine to work from photos that one has complete control over.  The scene is from my imagination, but I will use plenty of photo aids to get the details right.  Here we are posing:

That's me on the left reprising my sternman role.  I always loved dressing up like an orange Butter-ball to go to work!  Luke is on the right acting as the dock-hand. 

Why are we lifting dumbells?  Because I wanted to show the strain on the muscles accurately.  The trays they are lifting in the painting are really close to 150 pounds.  Even though these wieghts are just thirty pounds apiece, it does help to show us lifting instead of pretending.

My canvas size is 3 feet by 4 feet, so it's imperative I have the proper placement of figures.  So, I sketched it out like this:

But something happened to my idea.  I changed what it's about.  In the thumbnail, my idea was a sunrise scene with a lobster boat.  In this sketch, it's a lobster boat with a sunrise.  And that's the difference between is and about.  The painting still is a sunrise and a lobster boat.  But it's not about a sunrise.  It's about lobstermen preparing to head out.  I didn't really plan it, that's just the way it turned out.

OK, last picture.  Here's where my canvas stood when I called it a day.  Sorry for the poor photo, but I was running out of light, plus the figures are very lightly drawn in.  I still have miles to go before I even touch it with paint. 

And as some folks are fond of saying:

It is what it is.


Susan Roux said...

Wow Kevin, when you do leg work, you do leg work. I mean seriously. Is that toe pointing a baller step?

This has got the beginnings of a winner. Just look what you're hatching up these days! There's more to the coop than meets the eye... I can't wait to see the evolution in progress.

kevin said...

Thanks, Susan--you have brought up an interesting point: Much of lobstering is really interperative dance!