I finished this piece yesterday and I don’t have a clever name for it yet. But it was my first foray into metal leaf patterns and I thought some of my readers might be curious. I previously tested the metal leaf by covering a whole mdf with it and painting on top, and while it was interesting, I decided that I’d rather paint on the mdf and use the metal leaf as accent.
This watch has quite a history, it used to belong to my boyfriend’s grand-father who worked on a railroad. The highlights on the glass are all speckled because the glass face has been worn so much, by being in pockets with change and keys and all kind of stuff. It’s broken now, but kept as a souvenir. A few months ago, I did a photo shoot with this watch, a more recent pocket watch of mine and other objects. This photo is one of those I took.
I also took many pictures of the painting process so I could walk you through it step by step.
Like many of the paintings I post here, this one is for sale. It’s 115$ (+ shipping) and it’s 12″x12″. You can see other paintings for sale in my catalogue. If you are interested or if you have any questions about the blog, you can contact me at chantal (at) chantalfournier.com
A few weeks ago, I traveled to Prince-Edward-Island for the first time. It was a lucky thing, my boyfriend was going there for work and I was able to tag along. It being october, a lot of the tourist attractions were closed, but fortunately, there were still a few cruise ships dropping by and some tourists at the hotel so some places were still open. The weather was quite good for the season too, we got almost no rain.
I took some of my time there to paint. I walked around a lot, scouting for good places to paint. On my second day, I chose to paint the cruise ship and the Cows ice cream shop. Now, Cows is a big deal in PEI, they even have a big plastic Cows cow in the Charlottetown airport. I also traveled to The Port La Joye-Fort Amherst historical location. It was closed but the trails were still accessible. It was much bigger than I expected and I kept thinking I’d find a better spot just a little further. In the end I didn’t take time to paint as it took me long enough to trek around the park lugging my easel and paint around that I didn’t feel like going back to the good spots.
I also got to paint St-Dunstan’s Basilica, but boy did I freeze my arse (and feet, and fingers, and face.)
All in all, it was a great trip, the food was amazing (Fish and chips!) and the people were super friendly. I even found a comic book store where a lady spun local wool she got from one of her customers and sold the result. Comics and homespun is not a mix one expects, but since some warn geeks are as rabid as comic fans, it’s a good match.
It was my first time traveling somewhere with the goal being to get some painting done so I learned some lessons: If you find a good spot and the light is good and the weather allows, paint it RIGHT NOW. Don’t wait, tomorrow it might rain, or there might be a funeral at the church you want to paint, or you might not have time. Also, find a way to not have to carry everything in your hands, it’s a pain when you just want to take a picture or even zip up your coat.
Now that the nice weather is back, I bought a new set of watercolours in order to tag along with the Urban Sketchers. I did go to a few of their events but I was mostly drawing with graphite or colored pencils. I did try a set of watercolour pencils, but it was hard to hold many colors at once, and it was a cheap set, I couldn’t get dark colours out of it.
I went to Deserres at Place Montreal Trust to pick up the paints, but there was only one travel set and it was fairly crappy and expensive. I found more choice at Deserres on Ste-Catherine East.
This is the set I chose.
It rained a lot lately so I didn’t have time to try it much but I had made a colour chart.
We spent the last weekend in Arundel, north of Montreal and I had time to try a few outdoor paintings to warm up. I used to paint in coloured ink as a teenager and into my early 20’s but I had never painted with “real” watercolours, and it had been a long time anyways, so I didn’t want to be too ambitious.
These are my beginner paintings. I still have much more to do to master the set. I’m struggling with colour mixing. I’ll keep posting my work.
I thought I was done painting for my upcoming show, I’ve been very busy with packing because I’m moving just before I have to go hang the show. Well, last night I found the time to sit and paint this. The graphic flame ring is inspired by Brom. It’s my first ever painting on wood panel and it’s a learning experience. The wood became rougher after being varnished, I didn’t expect that. I had to sand it down. I call it Chromosphère after the sun’s lower atmosphere, the part where we see flares and arcs.
Chromosphère will be at my upcoming exhibition Des ventouses et des hommes at Pourquoi Pas Espresso Bar in April. More info here.
About a month ago, my boyfriend came home with a black round box tied with a ribbon. It looked like a small hat box. He handed it to me and I asked him if it was a present. He hesitated and said:” Well, I’m asking for a favor but it’s also a present.” That was weird. Turns out that the box contained a blank papier maché mask and an invitation from one of his suppliers to a celebration. The mask was for a contest, the best mask at the celebration would win a trip to Mardi Gras in New Orleans and Sylvain wanted me to decorate it. The present part was the box.
The first step was to remove the ribbon ties so I wouldn’t worry about painting them by accident. Then I sanded down the mask bacause it had all kinds of small kinks and bumps.
Then I applied a few coats of watered down gesso and let it dry thoroughly. During that time, I refined the design I had chosen on paper.
I unfortunately don’t have a photo with just the lines before I started painting. Here it is after just one coat of paint. Originally, I intended to paint everything that’s white on this photo in black when I was done with the other colors. But I decided that white looked good, so I gave a few layers of white as well, to cover up the lines. I used the same type of acrylic paints I use on canvases.
And here is the finished piece, varnished and with clock hand antennas.
So, we didn’t win, but I got to keep the mask, and the box.
Maybe you live in a place without art schools, maybe you can’t afford art school, or maybe you just feel lonely when working by yourself in the studio all day. One of the fantastic innovations brought by digital cameras and editing technology is the possibility to make instructional videos that are both affordable and specialized. That means that even if your potential market is somewhat limited, you can make a DVD or a downloadable video and have reasonable expectations that it will cover it’s costs. This has led to a boon of new material in the field of illustration.
I have a few DVDs and quite a bunch of downloaded videos (all legit!) but I’m going to start with the most recent one: Donato Giancola‘s Painting Joan of Arc (link to product description on Donato’s site.) This is Donato’s second DVD, the first being The Mechanic, produced by Massive Black/ConceptArt.org. Both follow the process involved in producing a finished oil painting.
I put this DVD on my second monitor while I was working on Photoshop. I did miss a few little details, but I still got most of it. Donato takes the viewer from the idea behind the piece to the finish. He covers thumbnails, drawing on top of them to explain what he’s trying to achieve with each composition and how each thumbnail builds on the previous ones. The viewer gets to see not only what he does, but also why. The motivation and emotion behind the piece is given a prominent place in this video, it’s not a nuts and bolts, Bob Ross like process, and it will not hold you by the hand to do your own just like it.
The painting itself, while being figurative and highly rendered, has a fairly abstract composition and I’m not sure the composition concepts seen in the video are accessible to someone just starting to paint. I have heard Donato talk about composition several times and I’m still not sure how well I understand his approach.
After the thumbnail phase is done, we are shown a short segment where Donato shoots his references, and then compiles them into a composite image that will be the guideline for the definitive piece. This painting is done on primed plywood so we see how the surface is prepared and how the drawing is transferred onto the surface.
Then there is a acrylics under-painting phase, a short palette set up phase and he jumps straight into painting a guy’s hand. This hand in turn becomes the baseline against which values and colours of other parts of the painting are compared. Obviously, some parts are skipped or accelerated because it takes way more than 4 hours to paint something like that but we follow Donato as he paints the main faces, some chain-mail and plate-mail, a banner, hair and the important part is the running commentary as he paints on what he’s doing and why he’s doing it like that. Sometimes he has to make hard choices and he narrates his decision taking process as it happens.
There also are a few more general advice but I think the strength of this video is to follow a master as he builds his piece, one decision at a time. Donato considers the emotional and narrative impacts of his piece even more than the visual impact and he never talks down to the viewer. So my take is this is a great educational DVD, but it might be more appropriate for someone with basic knowledge of painting and composition than a complete neophyte.