February 16, 2015

The Telling of Legends

The inspiration came from a painting by Howard Terpning called 'The Telling of Legends'. I decided to make a different type of legend. Changed the expression on the old man's face and gave the young man a Winchester rifle. I might rename the painting to 'Peace pipes and Winchesters'. This is a work in progress (Feb 16 2015). If you click on one of the images and turn the scroll wheel of your mouse, you will see all images appear as in a slide show, allowing you to see the differences between the various stages more clearly. Oldest stage at the top, most recent at bottom.


February 13, 2015

Digital prep for analog painting

I think I am going to shift from airbrushing to painting (in oil) again and from realistic to a more impressionistic style - something somewhere in between the two. I have been fiddling around in order to paint a more vivid and extended palette in software which I find an excellent way to determine the final method of painting in real life with real paint.

An example you see below. I found an image of a beautiful painting by Harley Brown, Called Bitterroot Chief. Though I loved the image composition and palette, I decided to change some facial features and expression. Below you see the original.

Original painting by Harley Brown

I changed the eyebrows - lowered them - and eyelids, as well as the shape of the eyes. Also slightly altered the nose and did some work on the mouth. Native Americans have a number of specific facial features that must be reflected in paintings to keep them 'authentic'. I think I am almost done tinkering in the digital realm and may soon pick up the brush and paints to make a portrait on canvas.

(almost) final digital rendering
before analog (oil) painting

February 4, 2015

Native American reference image material

From image to painting is often a strange path. After having had enough of committing art as a type of crime - in the sense that a lack of certain skills is ignored applying what has actually been mastered to create some kind of form that the artist prefers to see as art, while the rest of the world may find that a dubious opinion. It means that a different route has to be taken to arrive at the final work. That is, if it is acknowledged that this is a necessity, required to be taken seriously as an artist. Art of course is a subjective matter, but I found it was time for a change. Not to radical perhaps, but as an addition to acquired skills. Here you have the result.

Reference image

I try to look for material that isn't used by many other artists, resulting in artwork that is common. Finding good Native American reference images is rather difficult. Most photographic material is shot by non-professionals often resulting in imagery that lacks good reference material quality. But sometimes I run into images that have potential in spite of unfortunate properties. The above image is such a photograph. I leave criticism to the discretion of the reader.

Altered reference image

Being conditioned as hell, I changed the subject's nasal features and cropped the image, since the background is not what I would want to have in a painting. There are a number of other properties that I didn't like, but fortunately artists can leave them out or alter them as they see fit. Lately I have been enthralled by the painting style of Howard Terpning and was blown away by the possibilities of digital painting in general and the use of the Huion H610 Pro Graphic tablet in particular. I may try painting in oil at some point in the future, but currently that is a budgetary impossibility.

First digital doodles

Corel PhotoPaint in combination with the Huion make it easy to change features I did not particularly appreciate in the photograph. I started in portrait orientation, but later tried landscape which is more common in painting and digital representation. I do not like the background and will probably change that in a later stage. Depending on the proper background I may find, it is possible that I will return to portrait orientation. This quality of digital art creation allows to try different things while creating.

Landscape trial

I removed the tattoos on the upper arm, since I doubt if that was part of the original tradition. Changed some colors and changed the hair line. Stay tuned to see the various stages and end result.

Update Feb 4 2015
Changed eye and brow, made nose longer, upper lip thicker and chin less pronounced. Did some detailing on the dress and arm. I think I will make the portrait portrait oriented. Plains backgrounds in landscape orientation that fit flawlessly in the painting are difficult to find.

Update Feb 5 2015
Changed mouth and brow yet again. Altered nose curve slightly. Worked on texture of clothing (shadows). Thinking of removing entire background and replacing it by image that has hazed sepia tones. Still looking for images on the web.

Hint: Click on the image and a lightbox will open with all images of this page placed in chronological sequence. If you turn the scroll wheel of the mouse you will quickly flick from one image to the next or previous (depending on the direction in which the scroll wheel is turned). It allows to instantly see the differences between the stages.