Saturday, 7 November 2009

Posting some of my work from year 2 so far...

My painting seems to be getting less realistic this year. Probably because I'm referencing from photos less and I feel bored of trying to do photo realistic digital painting. Its more fun to play around in Painter/photoshop cos it takes hardly any time at all to make something decent compared to using real paint, so I think you can take more time to experiment with things you usually wouldn't think to do. People can get good at digital painting very fast, just look at us second years. Everyone's really improved! Though I don't think any of this stuff is better or worse than what I did last year, I'm kind of at a loss...Though I do like my sketching better this year. Basically I learned that I want to draw/paint nature, all the time, thank god Chris makes us diversify or I wouldn't draw anything but rocks and figures.

The Masters project was fun. I wanted to do a Jenny Saville study straight away, because she's my favourite contemporary painter as of around 3 years, and my background is pretty much all modern stuff so I tried to teach myself a bit about art history. So, I like Saville's work because the subject matter of beauty/body image speaks to me and she's a little bit controversial. The technique of painting with oil on a large scale interested me because I tried it a couple of years ago, and the perspective of it really messes with your head even though my painting was only a fraction of the size of what she does, so I admire her to be able to do that

While trying to reproduce the painting 'Plan' I noticed that even though her work has a hyper-real look, the large brush strokes still only suggest detail rather than explicitly paint every skin pore and vein etc. It didn't take that long to do a relatively accurate reproduction in painter using a pastel brush, as it responds better to large strokes than oil which lags terribly. I really dislike Painter sometimes for that reason and I always go into Photoshop at the end.
So after looking what everyone else had done, I thought I hadn't really understood the task because Jenny Saville still uses a modern technique even though her work has a classical look. I wanted to paint a male nude so I was looking for a good subject and found a Neoclassicist painter Jacques-Louis David who's painted a scene of Hector's death from the Iliad. It reminded me of this scene where Hector's family see his body after Priam gets it back from Achilles and he still looks all fresh and beautiful and alive even though his body's been desecrated. I liked how Hector was basically one of the manliest and heroic characters but in this painting he kind of looks boyish and like he was a vulnerable person when living, so I imagine this is the kind of image the Gods gave his body at funeral. This painting took many more hours to reproduce than my other attempt, using the same tools in Painter. The skin has a glowing quality which is made by layering paint over and over getting lighter. There's no quick way to get the effect. When you zoom in mine looks so crude in comparison to the original even though I spent a lot of time on it. Digital painting seems totally contradictory to the old techniques because its so fast, and correcting mistakes is so easy. When painting this I started to paint over mistakes rather than erase them to get in the right frame of mind. Just building up the colours on the arm to show the muscle was a slow and tedious process and takes a lot of time to get the reward where yours starts to look a bit like the original painting. Whereas doing the Jenny Saville started to take shape within the first 10 minutes. It was really interesting to see how the work of the old masters can be replicated relatively quickly in a digital medium, these are techniques I want to apply in figurative art, in life drawing or painting texture.

For 3d work, I feel like I can actually make what I want in 3d though its still a struggle every time. Last year I couldn't do anything, but I practised over summer and made a character and vehicle which was really fun. Probably because I was making something I'd designed which I'm interested in, i.e. fashion and kitschy stuff like gypsy caravans. My aim over summer was to feel comfortable in Max by the end of it and start using zbrush/surface detail maps which I also did. By the end of year 2 I want to know what to specialize in, so I guess I should just make everything and see what I'm best at. Mortal Engines projects are really fun, but I'm rushing them because I'm so slow which makes it not as enjoyable because I don't have time to do what I want. Making the environment of the natural history museum was fun at first because it was something I'd chosen, but when I realised the scale of it, it wasn't as fun anymore and got really frustrating...Still need to finish it. The vehicle is harder because I've no real reference for it, but I wanted to see if I could make something purely from imagination and a few basic references. Have no idea if it will look good or not.


Michael Powell said...

Blair, I'm loving your work this year and watching you develop as you push yourself out of your comfort zone is really exhilerating.

i think your confidence will actually improve as a consequence of working beyond your normal zones, as you develop new techniques and a wider appreciation of things you may not have previously tackled.

you will go far!

toma li said...

greetings, your work is ace, the stuff you posted is great and your art is really cool, saw the thing you did on too, love the style. !!high five!!