Dragooooooooon!?

Another dragon painting, this one set against a forested mountain valley.

Red Dragoon!!?

Red Dragoon!!?

I discovered a cheap alternative to using expensive and potentially toxic solvents for cleaning brushes. Read on for the exciting details! Continue reading

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Leaven Well-Enuff ALOAN!?

Teh Good Partz!

Teh Good Partz!

What happens is, you work and work and work on a thing, trying to make it better and better because there’s always that one little thing that you know isn’t perfect. So you keep at it and twiddle away and tweak and modify and add, add, add. And what eventually happens is, either you end up with this perfect thing that’s beautiful, or a horrid frickin’ mess that you should have stopped screwing around with hours ago.  This painting is the second one. When I had a big, dark tree in the foreground with the sunlight blaring through the gaps in the branches, that was good. It looks awesome and powerful and yet also tranquil. Then I fucked it up by slathering too much fail over that power.

This is the good half of the painting. The right side, which is cut off, is made of fail. I’m tempted to physically cut the canvas and re-stretch it on a new, square frame.

Projeckt Updaet!?

Stream, Trees and Stump

Stream, Trees and Stump

Got some work done on this bad boy. I was happy with the left side of the thing, but the right side looked dumb and wrong, so I planted a tree in front of it and blocked it from view. Requires another layer or two before it’s finished – need the foreground leaves and some highlights. I like the kind of hazy, surreal quality in the background flora, though the riverside flowers and stuff don’t have as clear definition as I would like. I should probably have more broad-leaf plants and reeds and such growing along the stream banks, but I’m not going to agonize over it.  The detail in the grass is lost in the photo – the camera is supposed to be “14 Mega Pixels” but it can’t pick up the fine scratches and whatnot. It looks way better in person, and I think it’s going to look aces when it’s finished.

DND Advenchers!?

Work In Progress - Hill, Stream and Hollow Stump

Werk in progres!!

Picture relevant: D&D characters could encounter orcs or elves or something on this hill and fight.

Actually the campaign I have planned involves a zombie apocalypse. Not just zombies, but skeletons, too. And an ossuary that comes to a hellish semblance of life. Should be a hoot. Level 10 campaign, and the giant bone-golem animated church is going to be CR 12 or so, I think. I’ll figure something out to make it as epic as it needs to be. Basically, the idea of the campaign is that it takes place in a city like Paris – thousands of plague victims are entombed in the catacombs beneath the city streets. Somewhere in the city is a temple like that one near Prague, which is decorated with 40,000 human bones from all the plague victims that got piled up there. There were too many to bury, so some crazy priest started taking the bones and making chandeliers and family crests and like furniture and shit out of them.

Anyway, in this city, some noob necromancer stumbles across an ancient dusty tome containing a single spell. He critically fails his Spellcraft check and thinks it’s just an elaborate Raise Dead ritual written by someone who didn’t know the common spell. He casts the spell, hoping to raise up a few skeletons and zombies to do his bidding. Instead, it’s a doomsday spell that raises all the dead from their resting places. All the victims of a terrible plague hundreds of years ago, who are entombed beneath the city… all the recently-buried dead in the local cemetery… all the amalgamated bones in the ossuary… they all rise up to smite the living. Anyone killed by a zombie or skeleton becomes a zombie, thus quickening the apocalypse.

The painting is a work in progress. Started with the wet-on-wet technique to build a base, then building out from that with finer brushes for detail work. Will eventually add layers of oily glazes to give it a dreamy, warm, fuzzy look and add visual depth. Right now it kinda looks like bad perspective, but the trees are growing on a rising hill. The one at top right is farther away from the others, and I’m going to layer a thick bluish haze on top of it to make it look more distant. Also, I think the stream needs to be brighter. Anyway, it’s going to look pretty sexy when it’s finished.

Expeeramentol Lanscaip

Experimental Landscape with Dude

Experimental Landscape with Dude

Update to an earlier post. This is what it looks like now after a layer of oily glazing to enhance shadows and highlights, add space to the trees, fix the distant background and swirl the clouds around.

I am pleased with how the grass and clouds turned out, but the detail is lost in this photograph. I dunno, it’s amateurish, but it definitely has a sombre tone. I think the central tree should spread out wider, like a mushroom cap. And I think I went too heavy with the highlights. There should be more shadow and mid-tone to make the highlights pop out more. Gonna call this one about 75%, but I will probably do another one rather than try to fix this one any further.

Essentially, it is an experiment with new techniques. In that respect, I call it a win. I learned from the experience… mostly what not to do in the next one, but that’s a lesson. I will definitely try another one, and it will be better.

Anuthar Projeckt

I’ve been watching these YouTube videos of Bob Ross and Bill Alexander doing astounding landscape paintings and thought I would give it a try.

Tarabul Foto of a Tarabul Panting!!
Tarabul Foto of a Tarabul Panting!!

As you can see, my results are amateurish and horrible. There are, I think, a few reasons for this besides my obvious lack of experience:

  • I don’t have big 3.5 or 4″ brushes. All of my brushes are smaller with shorter hairs. I’ve been using old soft-haired brushes – probably watercolor brushes – and those work okay, but they are not the gigantic house-painting brushes that the pros use.
  • I don’t have a palette knife. Well, I do somewhere, but I can’t find it. I looked everywhere I could think of today and it still eludes me. The one I have, wherever it is, is nothing like the ones that Bill and Bob use. I’m using my recycled sharp-tipped brush sticks as palette knives to scrape details into the canvas and mix small quantities of paint on the palette.
  • I use far less paint than they do. Bill and Bob seem to squeeze out whole entire tubes of paint on their massive palettes, and they tend to load up their giant brushes with great gobs of very soft paint and then slap it on the canvas with abandon. I don’t have a lot of paint to begin with and my budget is much, much smaller, so I’m making do with smaller quantities and trying to stretch them however I can.
  • I’m applying some more or less experimental techniques of my own in an effort to compensate for these shortcomings. For instance, I used a toothbrush with very thin paint and splattered a mist of droplets of varying sizes. I used this on the grass and leaves, and it achieved an interesting look that wasn’t quite what I was hoping for but looks neat nevertheless.

Long range goal: apply glazes of different colours over top of what’s here. Hopefully this will deepen shadows and make highlights glow warmly. Brown and green undertones/shadows to make the foliage pop, and then pale gold sunshine to make the highlights look more summer-afternoon-y.

I may also add a figure beneath that tree in the middle there, looking off into the distance with his back to the viewer.

Anyway, it needs to dry for a few days first. And then I might bother to get a nicer photo of it.

I am pleased with how the grass turned out. I think I will be using this technique from now on whenever I paint grass – spatters, upward sweeps with a dry, stiff brush (i used a toothbrush, but anything with a rake-like texture would work), layers of dark and light greens, scratching lines with the end of a paintbrush. That seemed to work well. The rocks also make it look more like grass for some reason.

There is a vague sense of soft, gentle hills rolling away into the distance. Again, not quite what I was going for, but I think I know how to achieve the proper thing I want now.