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New Sketch: Benched

December 11, 2017

This is taken from an old photo of mine. The fellow looked very forlorn for awhile, but I remember he got up suddenly as though he had been thinking long and hard on something, and then rushed off. I hope that whatever it was it all worked out.

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Recent Pencil Portraits

December 3, 2017

Here are a few new portraits I’ve sketched. They’re taken from some low resolution video that I shot at a cafe and library in town. I had also given myself a task to draw them without doing any proportional measuring. Just go by sight alone. Some weren’t too successful, but these turned out okay.

I had spent a little time earlier in the day walking through a local museum, and had noticed how all the portraits there looked so unengaging. They often were so stagnantly posed with a distant stare that looked to be just objects rather than people. It wasn’t a new revelation, but something clear hit me about it at that time, driving me to do some sketching that showed people with a bit more personality revealed. This is why I like to use video. It tends to capture more expressions than I might get with a single photo.

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Polyester Fabric Mounted to Hardboard

November 30, 2017

I’m preparing to start another painting, and wanted to use some polyester fabric I had. First I needed to mount it to a hardboard panel.

This shows a 16 x 20 inch panel with the fabric glued to the front. To get to this point I had to prepare the panel first. It was a scratch panel I had in the studio that had a few thin spots of white paint I needed to sand down. I used some acrylic “gouache” paint I had and mixed it with some GAC-100 medium to both prime and size the panel. I thinned this a bit with water to make it more brushable, and covered the panel in two coats.

I roughly cut a sheet of the fabric about 2 inches larger than the panel. It had a few creases in it, so I used an iron set to low heat to smooth them out. Once the paint had dried to the touch, I covered that with some Liquitex Extender Gel to use as an adhesive for the fabric. This also had to be thinned a little. I dropped the fabric on the wet panel, and used a brayer to roll the fabric smooth. I left this sitting under some weight for a few hours to keep the panel straight as it dried. Later I’ll glue the edges to the back, and trim them to make them look less ragged. Now all I have to do is figure out what I’m going to paint…

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Portrait of Gennifer in Casein

November 22, 2017

I saved this material that was wrapped around a computer monitor I bought some time ago, and it’s a curious type of fabric. It feels like Tyvek, which is a brand of fabric from Dupont made of spun polyethylene fibers, but this tears more easily than sheets of that I seen before. Anyway, I wanted to experiment with it for a new painting.

The feel of this reminds me of felt. If it’s wadded up it will show creases, which made me want to use that as a textured surface, so I cut a section about 12″ square, wadded it up into a ball, and glued it to a thin sheet of wood veneer.

Here I’m starting to tone the fabric with a thin wash of burnt umber casein that I made. It takes the paint very well, like staining raw muslin.

This is the final result. It’s based on a photo of mine of my friend, Gennifer. I’ve added titanium white for the highlight areas. It was a very interesting surface to paint on. I need to hunt down some Tyvek now, and see if it behaves the same way.

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A Couple New Sketches

November 18, 2017

My friend, Jennifer, has a dance class in Austin, which offers me a good opportunity to sit and draw the performers. I made a few quick gesture drawings, and this sketch of a woman sitting and watching the others.

Afterwards, I shot a photo of Jennifer in the parking lot looking up at a bright sun, and turned that into a sketch when I got home.

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New Sketches: Dripping Springs and San Marcos

November 11, 2017

I was driving around the area of Dripping Springs, TX a few days ago with my friend, Mary. At one place we stopped to do some sketching. She was drawing some cattle across the road, and I was sketching her. Later, she had to run some errands in the nearby town of San Marcos, so I drew up a street corner while I waited for her outside. All in all, a productive and enjoyable day.

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New Idea for Mounting Drafting Film (Mylar)

November 6, 2017

An old post of mine regarding the use of drafting film as an art surface remains one of my most popular posts with ongoing discussions today. The main concern is how to properly adhere this surface to a firm support for display purposes. All glues I’ve tried are no better than adequate, allowing the film to be easily pulled away from any type of firm backing. As a result, this surface is not my favorite to work with, but one I continue to explore ideas to improve this problem. One such idea is to not use glue at all, but instead use physical force to sandwich the film between two supports.

I got this idea by looking at clear packaging supplies online. You can buy gift boxes of various sizes made usually with PET plastic, but some are also made with polypropylene (“PP”) which is the same material Borden & Riley’s “Denril” film is made from.

To start exploring this idea, I took a large sheet of Grafix “Wet Media” film, and fit it to a 9 x 12″ piece of foamcore that is 1/4″ thick. In order to get the sheet to lay flat to the foamcore, I scored the film with a metal ruler to get a sharp bend.

Using cellophane tape to hold the film in place, I glued another sheet of foamcore to the back to press and hold the film.

The reason I didn’t fold over all four sides is that would require cutting the film corners, like stretching a canvas, and that makes the film easy to tear. You certainly could do that, carefully. In fact, that’s how the gift boxes are made, but it’s not necessary here if this panel is displayed in a frame where the sides won’t be seen. If you were to do a sort of “gallery wrapped” display, then you’d want to cut the corners to fold over all four sides. In that case, I’d recommend protecting the corners somehow.

This particular film is glossy, and since the whole surface is not glued flat, it has a slight waviness that can be distracting. That would not be noticeable if you were using frosted film.