Tagged: painting

Circle of Power

I haven’t posted here in ages. I’ve been very busy making sure that DrinkAndDrawMtl.com remains active and I’ve neglected my own blog. So I have a whole bunch of old paintings I need to post because I never shared them here but I decided to get started with with this painting I finished this morning.

I’ve had this thumbnail in my sketchbook forever but this week I saw the cover for The language of knives and I knew my skull had to be partially submerged in water. So I pulled out a big pot of water, my photoflood and my mi-light color changing led and started shooting references. While I was there, I shot every angle I could think of. I have 153 photos of a plastic skull in a pot of water.

Yep, skull in cold water.

Yep, skull in cold water.

Then I did a montage of the composition I wanted.

Montage in photoshop. I used the pot as a reference for the perspective on the circle.

Montage in photoshop. I used the pot as a reference for the perspective on the circle.

I transfered the drawing to my board. I used some darkish mdf that was prepped with 2-3  coats of matte medium. For the transfer, I print my design in black and white using my laser printer. Then I use a sheet of tracing paper coated with vine charcoal on one side as a carbon paper. I always reuse the same, and add charcoal as needed. I also have one with white conte on it which works fine.

Then I started painting my gradients and darks with raw umber, a very transparent pigment. I still dilute it with medium and a small amount of water. I work in a LOT of layers.

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I started with the gradient and the darkest darks. I work so transparent that I’ll need to build those darks in at least 8 coats. Also, that lets me define the drawing for when the lines are no longer visible.

Then a bit of unbleached titanium, to give me an idea of the value range.

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Detail of the light side. Unbleached titanium is a creamy pigment that doesn’t look jarring next to the subdied browns and beiges.

Circle of power, coat 1 has been painted. It's a mix of white and blue that gives very flat results.

Circle of power, coat 1 has been painted. It’s a mix of white and blue that gives very flat results.

I kept working on the darks. At some point, I started adding some transparent blue  (Createx fluorescent blue) it’s very liquid and easy to spread thin. It also mixes very well with the Createx white I use for flat colors, such as the circle of power.

My last touches were a mix of unbleached titanium and white Createx for the tiny specular highlights on the water edges and to show off the wetness of the skull.

That's it! More darks, more subtle blue, more coats on the circle of power. Just needs 4-5 coats of varnish.

That’s it! More darks, more subtle blue, more coats on the circle of power. Just needs 4-5 coats of varnish.

Then I framed it. I had bought this board with a frame I had and the match was perfect.

Framed and hung.

Framed and hung.

Of, and this thing wasn’t meant to be a piece of blacklight deco, but it happens to shine under blacklight, it just looks a bit weird when it does.

Blacklight! Everything that glows has some of the blue paint on it. It's a lot more subtle under regular light.

Blacklight! Everything that glows has some of the blue paint on it. It’s a lot more subtle under regular light.

So that’s it. This piece is for sale. I’m asking 220$ for it. Contact me for more info.

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My new Etsy store!

The reflections on the Jade Lion.

The reflections on the Jade Lion.

I have done it. I have considered starting an Etsy store for a long time, but it’s on now! One of my problems is that sometimes I have trouble having enough paintings in stock at the same time. So I’ll have to paint more.

You can see it here: Qitsune’s painterly meditations on Etsy

Right now I have a few paintings but I will also make it possible to commission custom art and to buy prints.

I’m very late on updating this blog, so I  decided to use the occasion to feature some art that’s in the Etsy store that I never talked about here. Like the Jade Lion, based on the Lion of Belfort statue that’s in Dorchester Square.

This tiny 5"x7" painting features green metal leaf details.

This tiny 5″x7″ painting features green metal leaf details.

I found this photograph on Pinterest and  I loved it. I wanted to paint it, but I don’t use other people’s pictures, at least, not directly, I need to transform them enough to make them my own.

The birth of Oversight

The birth of Oversight

So I dug around my photographs of angels, found a photo of a niche that worked with it, composited both together, painted on top to change the lighting and added the leaves in Photoshop. The result was the black, white and yellow image which I then transferred to my varnished MDF. For that, I used a sheet of tracing paper covered in compressed charcoal. So it’s like handmade artsy carbon paper. The result is often messy, but then I lightly wipe it with a dry rag and only the lines that I wanted there remain. I then painted using raw umber and unbleached titanium acrylic paints. When most of the painting was done, I started applying the imitation gold and (real) copper leaf to the painting. I added a bit of acrylic on some of the leaves, to push them back in the shade, then put even more gold leaves on top.

I finished the painting with several coats of spray on acrylic varnish.

Now it glows and shimmers in the light, I’m very happy with it.

You can see it here on Etsy

 

 

SteelButt Jack: Une couverture pour Solaris

(For this article in English, click here)

Dans le monde de l’illustration comme dans le monde des jeux vidéo, parfois on travaille sur quelque chose et on ne peut pas le montrer à qui que ce soit. Et quand enfin, on peut le montrer, on a l’impression que c’est complétement dépassé par rapport à ce qu’on fait maintenant. C’est ce qui est arrivé avec cette couverture. Elle n’est pas très vieille, je l’ai faite en septembre/octobre 2013, mais j’ai quand même l’impression que mon nouveau travail est différent.

Solaris est le plus vieux magazine de science-fiction et fantasy de langue française en existence. J’ai reçu la commande pour la couverture de Joël Champetier, le rédacteur en chef. Ses instructions en gros disaient: “On aime tes trucs digitaux et traditionnels, propose nous quelque chose qui n’a pas de tentacules.” Ouais, c’était aussi ouvert que ça. Alors j’ai fait des tonnes de compositions dans mon carnet de dessin, j’en ai choisi 6 que j’ai refait au propre et que j’ai envoyé. 3 que je peindrais avec l’ordinateur et 3 que je ferais à l’acrylique.

The thumbnails I sent Mr.Champetier from Solaris. The brown ones are for traditional paintings and the black and white are for digital paintings.

Les vignettes que j’ai envoyées à M.Champetier. Celles en noir et blanc sont pour peindre dans Photoshop  et celles en brun sont pour peindre traditionnellement. Le monsieur en veston aurait été un portrait de Dr.Penfield avec un homoncule sur le dos, un genre de mélange de neurologie et de fantasy.

Joël a choisi le pilote de jet pack. Il a dit que dans toutes les années de Solaris, il ne pense pas qu’ils aient déjà eu un jet pack en couverture, aussi cliché que ça puisse être. Cette information en main, j’ai commencé à travailler sur un design de jet pack et un costume cool. Je voulais un style diesel punk, mais qui ne ressemble pas trop au Rocketeer, il est de la même époque, mais il est un gars différent qui vient d’un monde plus rude.

refrences_solaris

Les références que j’ai utilisée pour faire mon dessin final. En faits, j’en ai utilisées plus que ça. J’avais quelques photos de Matthieu pour différents détails et des photos que j’ai trouvé sur internet pour des choses comme des pièces de laiton, des trainées de vapeur, de jet packs et des habits antiques.

Armée de ma vignette approuvée et de mon design de jet pack, j’ai demandé à mon ami Matthieu Legault de poser pour mes références.  Matthieu est un auteur avec 7 livres publiés à son actif, mais je pense que c’est la première fois qu’il est sur la couverture. Il avait un chandail qui ressemblait un peu au manteau de mon design et j’avais un gros sac-à-dos, des lunettes et des bottes gothiques alors c’est l’étendu de son costume. Nous avons essayés toutes sortes de poses, dans ma cours et dans ma cuisine mais en fin de compte, c’est avec le tabouret que nous avons réussis à lui donner l’air de voler. Sinon il avait juste l’air de se tenir sur un pied. J’ai aussi sculpté les formes de base du jet pack et je les ai installées sur un mannequin en bois pour avoir les angles des ailes et des fusées et pour imaginer leurs ombres sur Matthieu.

This is the design of the jet pack that I decided to go with. In the end, my model had hair that pit exactly the period I was going for, so I decided to use that instead of a helmet. I also included the progression of the drawing I did from the references.

Voici le design du jet pack que j’ai retenu. Finalement mon modèle avait une coiffure qui cadrait parfaitement avec l’époque que j’avais choisi alors j’ai décidé d’aller avec ça au lieu du casque. J’inclue aussi une progression du dessin que j’ai fait à partir de mes références.

Parmi mes photos, j’ai choisi celles qui étaient le plus dynamiques et qui ressemblaient le plus comme quelqu’un en train de voler. Elles n’étaient pas exactement comme ma vignette, mais je dirais que c’est une amélioration. J’ai fait plusieurs étapes de raffinement pour le dessin et plusieurs motifs possible pour la trainée de vapeur. Le dessin au trait avec la fumée est celui que j’ai envoyé à mon client pour approbation.

This is the drawing that I used as reference when painting. All of the value problems have been solved.

Ceci est le dessin que j’ai utilisé comme référence pendant que je peignais. Tous les problèmes de lumière ont déjà été réglés.

Quand j’ai eu mon approbation, j’ai fait un rendu en noir et blanc dans Photoshop pour ne pas avoir à prendre de décisions pendant que je peignais. Je n’ai pas rendu les oiseaux parce que mon plan était de faire juste des silhouettes d’oiseaux en vernis sur un fond de MDF non-vernis. L’idée étaient qu’ils aient l’air loin et subtils.

Le transfert de l'image sur le panneau de MDF.

Le transfert de l’image sur mon panneau.

J’ai imprimé mon dessin sur 3 feuilles différentes que j’ai assemblées et dont j’ai frotté l’endos avec du carré Conté terre de sienne pour les personnages et blanc pour la vapeur. J’ai ensuite clippé/collé la feuille à mon panneau et j’ai tracé toutes les lignes. Le résultat était un peu sale, mais j’ai pris une guenille à peinture propre et j’ai frotté légèrement le panneau pour enlever le plus gros.

first_steps_solaris

Ici vous pouvez voir les 3 premières étapes de la phase peinture. J’ai commencé avec les éléments graphiques parce qu’ils m’aident à établir la valeur la plus pâle de ma composition. Je passe ensuite aux foncés les plus foncés. Je ne fait pas vraiment de grand lavis très pâles au début parce que j’essaie d’éviter de celer le carré Conté sous des sections transparentes où il restera visible. J’efface beaucoup de lignes à mesure que je peins. Et si je mets trop de peinture quelque part, je dois l’essuyer très vite ou sinon attendre et le sabler. Je ne peux pas peindre en pâle par dessus de la peinture foncée ou vice versa.

Certaines personnes sont surprises d’apprendre que la phase peinture est souvent plus courte que la phase de planification et de design. Toutes les décisions difficiles ont été faites et il ne me reste qu’à étendre de la peinture et à ne pas tout ruiner. La partie ne pas tout ruiner serait plus facile si je travaillais à l’huile. C’est dans mes plans, mais pour tout de suite, je travaille encore à l’acrylique. Pour cette peinture, je n’ai utilisé que deux couleurs, terre d’ombre et titane écru. Je suis une grande fan du titane écru, c’est très pâle, mais pas aveuglant comme du blanc. Ça fonctionne aussi très bien avec le style sépia que j’utilise pour le moment. Dans le passé, j’ai peint plusieurs pièces sur du masonite et du MDF non-vernis et sans apprêt mais ce MDF là est différent, je l’ai acheté dans une quincaillerie et non dans un magasin de matériel d’art et il est doux comme du suède et la peinture ne glisse pas bien dessus. J’ai acheté un grand morceau que j’ai fait tailler en plusieurs panneaux, alors pour mes peintures suivantes, j’ai décidé de lui donner quelques couches de médium brillant avant de transférer le dessin. Ça marche bien mieux pour moi.

steelbutt_jack_web

Voilà la peinture finie et retouchée. J’ai enlevé de petites taches du MDF, ajouté un peu de fumée, enlevé un oiseau et retouché le personnage un peu.

Quand j’ai eu terminé, j’ai vernis seulement les parties qui étaient peintes alors le reste est mat. J’ai ensuite pris une bonne photo et je l’ai envoyée à Joël. Il voulait plus de fumée alors j’ai allongé la traînée et fait d’autres retouches et je lui ai envoyé le fichier haute résolution.

Et c’est comme ça que j’ai fait cette illustration.

SteelButt Jack: A Solaris Cover

(Pour cet article en français, cliquez ici)

In the illustration field like in the video game field, sometimes you work on something and then you just can’t show it to anyone. And then when you CAN show it, it feels like what you are doing now is completely different. This happened with this cover. It’s not that old, I only did it in September/October 2013, but I feel that I already work differently now.

Solaris is the oldest French language genre fiction magazine in existence. I was commissioned to do a cover by Joël Champetier, the editor in chief. His direction was basically: “We like both your digital and traditional stuff, pitch us something that doesn’t have tentacles.” Yep, that open ended. So I did tons of thumbnails in my sketchbook and I picked 6 of them to clean up and send. 3 that I would paint digitally and 3 that I would paint in acrylics.

The thumbnails I sent Mr.Champetier from Solaris. The brown ones are for traditional paintings and the black and white are for digital paintings.

The thumbnails I sent Mr.Champetier. The brown ones are for traditional paintings and the black and white are for digital paintings. The gentleman with the the suit would have been a portrait of Dr.Penfield with a humonculus on his back, it was supposed to be a kind of neurology/fantasy mashup.

Joël picked the guy with the jet pack. He said that in all of Solaris’ years, he didn’t think they ever had a jet pack on the cover, as cliché as they can be. With that, I started working on cool jet pack and outfit designs. I was going for a diesel punk look, but I didn’t want him to look too much like the Rocketeer, he was from the same era, but he was a different guy from a grittier world.

refrences_solaris

The references I used to make my final drawing. Actually, I used more than that. I used a few pictures of Matthieu for different details and I used images I found around the internet for things like brass fittings, jet contrails, jet packs, ancient outfits.

Armed with my approved thumbnail and my jet pack and outfit design, I asked my friend Matthieu Legault to model for the character. Matthieu is a writer with 7 published novels under his belt but I think it’s the first time he’s on the cover of one. He had a sweater that somewhat looked like the jacket in my outfit and I had a big packpack, goggles and goth boots so that’s the extend of his costume. We tried all kinds of poses, in my yard and in my kitchen, but in the end, the stool was the best way to make him look like he’s flying. Otherwise he just looked like a guy standing on one foot. I also modeled the basic jet pack shapes and stucked them on a mannequin to get the angles of the wings and rockets right on Matthieu and the shadows.

This is the design of the jet pack that I decided to go with. In the end, my model had hair that pit exactly the period I was going for, so I decided to use that instead of a helmet. I also included the progression of the drawing I did from the references.

This is the design of the jet pack that I decided to go with. In the end, my model had hair that fit exactly the period I was going for, so I decided to use that instead of a helmet. I also included the progression of the drawing I did from the references.

I choose amongst the pictures the ones that were the most dynamic and looked the most like someone flying. It’s not exactly like the thumb, but it’s an improvement. I went through several rounds of refining the drawing and several possible designs for the contrail. The line art with the smoke swirls is what I sent the client for approval.

This is the drawing that I used as reference when painting. All of the value problems have been solved.

This is the drawing that I used as reference when painting. All of the value problems have been solved.

When it was approved, I rendered the values in Photoshop so that I wouldn’t have to make decision in paint. I didn’t render the birds because the plan was to have them just be silhouettes in varnish on unvarnished MDF. They would be very subtle and translucent to make them look far away.

Le transfert de l'image sur le panneau de MDF.

The transfer of the image on the MDF panel.

I printed my line art in 3 different parts that I assembled and then rubbed the back of the drawing with Conté crayon, white for the smoke and sienna for the character and birds. I then clipped/tapped it to the board and traced all the line. The result is a bit messy and dark but I wipe it lightly with a dry paint rag and it gets much better.

first_steps_solaris

You can see the first 3 steps of the painting phase. I started with the graphic elements because they help me establish what the lightest value is going to be. Then I get started with the darkest darks. I don’t really do big washes because I try to avoid sealing in the conte powder under nearly transparent layers where they will remain visible. I erase a lot of the lines as I go. Also, if I put too much paint somewhere, I have to wipe it off very fast or else I will have to sand it off, I can’t paint in white on top of dark or vice versa.

Some people are surprised to learn that the painting stage is often shorter than the design stages. All the hard decisions have been made and all I have to do now is slap paint around and not screw up. The new screwing up part might be easier if I worked in oil. It’s in my plans, but right now I still work in acrylics. For this painting I used only two colors, raw umber and unbleached titanium. I am a very big fan of unbleached titanium, it’s quite light, but not dead or blinding like white. It fits well with the sepia style I’m going for at the moment. I the past, I have painted plenty of pieces on raw unprimed and unvarnished masonite and MDF but this was a different type of MDF that I had gotten at the hardware store, not at the art supply store and it was soft, like suede and the paint didn’t glide so well on it. I had bought a big piece and had it cut into several panels, so for my following pieces, I gave a few coats of gloss medium on the MDF before transferring the drawing. It works much better for me.

steelbutt_jack_web

This is the finished and retouched painting. I have removed tiny flecks in the MDF, added a bit of smoke, removed a bird and did various retouching of the character.

When I was done, I varnished the piece, only on the the already painted parts so the rest is raw and matte. Then I took a good picture and sent it to Joël. He wanted the contrail to end closer to the rocket, so I changed that in Photoshop and did some other touch ups. Then I sent him the high-resolution file.

And that is how that piece was done.

Des Ventouses et des hommes

There are still a few days left to see my show Des Ventouses et des hommes at Pourquoi Pas Espresso, 1447 Amherst st, Montreal, Quebec H2L 3L2. The show is going down on the 30th of April. Here are a few pictures to whet your appetite. The coffee is great too!

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Shhht

I noticed yesterday that I’m way behind in posting finished paintings. This is a commission I completed in mid-December, the clients wanted it in their living room for the holidays. This painting involved more steps than my usual work, so I thought I’d post some process pictures.

I started by discussing with my clients about what they were looking for, we looked at some of my previous paintings and it turns out that they liked one angel especially and they wanted a painting in a landscape orientation. Well, I had taken photographs of that angel from many angles and I was able to do a new painting of it that would still differ from the previous one. So my first step was to cut out the statue from the photograph and to try out graphic designs in Photoshop. I tried many other designs, but these are the ones that I sent the clients.

J’ai remarqué hier que j’ai beaucoup de retard pour partager mes toiles finies. Ceci est une commande que j’ai complétée à la mi-décembre. Mes clients la voulait pour le temps des fêtes. Cette peinture a plus d’étape que mon travail précédent alors j’ai pensé que ça serait une bonne idée de montrer des images de progression.

J’ai commencé par discuter avec mes clients pour comprendre ce qu’ils recherchaient. Je leur ai envoyé des images de toiles précédentes et ils aimaient un ange en particulier et voulaient la toile en orientation paysage. Comme j’avais plusieurs photos de références de cet ange sous des angles différents, j’ai pu faire une nouvelle peinture qui serait différente de celle qui était déjà vendue mais qui leur plairait. Ma première étape a été de faire quelques montages dans photoshop et de leur envoyer. J’ai fait plus d’essais que ça, mais ce sont celles que j’ai envoyés aux clients.

Roughs in Photoshop

Roughs in Photoshop, the second one is inspired by the Saturday Evening Post graphic design. – Ébauches dans Photoshop, la deuxième est inspirée par le design des couvertures du Saturday Evening Post.

They liked the second one but they thought it left a large empty space in the bottom right. So I moved the character to the right and added the mountains and we were all happy with the composition. I printed out the design and assembled it.

Mes clients aimaient la deuxième option mais ils trouvaient que ça laissait un grand espace vide. J’ai déplacé le personnage vers la droite et ajouté des montagnes et nous étions tous contents de la composition. J’ai imprimé et assemblé le dessin.

4 sheets of paper and some scotch tape.

4 sheets of paper and some tape. – 4 feuille de papier et du ruban adhésif.

I transferred just enough lines to be able to mask the mountains accurately. Then I used torn paper to stencil them in with spray varnish.

J’ai transférer juste assez de lignes pour pouvoir masquer les montagnes précisément. J’ai ensuite utilisé du papier déchiré comme stencil et du vernis en aérosol pour le motif.

Masking.

Masking. – Masque

The mountains.

The mountains.- Les montagnes.

Then, I transferred the graphic lines and painted them. The step after that, when the paint from the lines was thoroughly dry was to mask everything but the inside of the design and spray the pattern, again with varnish.

Ensuite, j’ai transférer le design graphique et j’ai peint les lignes. L’étape suivant, quand les lignes peintes étaient complétement sèches a été de tout masquer sauf l’intérieur du design et de vaporiser le motif avec du vernis.

My stencil was smaller than the zone to paint so some parts are blurry to hide the raccord.

My stencil was smaller than the zone to paint so some parts are blurry to hide the joint. – Le stencil était plus petit que la zone à peindre alors certaines jonctions sont floues.

Then I transferred the character and proceeded to paint her. First the dark color – ultramarine blue – then the light – unbleached titanium.

J’ai ensuite transféré le personnage et je l’ai peinte. La couleurs foncée -bleu outremer – en premier et ensuite le pâle (titane écru.)

Some of the darks are done here.

Some of the darks are done here. – On voit ici le commencement du foncé.

This is a medium that doesn’t allow correction. I can’t overlap light and dark colors and I use the background as a midtone. Acrylic dries very fast so I have only a few seconds to wipe off any mistake. Because of that I work with paint thinned with medium and built up my tones with very thin glazes, starting with the very darkest areas and painting larger and larger zones of transparent colors.

Cette méthode ne permet pas de faire des corrections. Je ne peux pas superposer les peintures pâles et foncées et j’utilise le brun du fond comme ton moyen. L’acrylique sèche très vite alors je n’ai que quelques secondes pour essuyer une erreur. À cause de cela, je dilue ma peinture avec du médium et je pose plusieurs glacis très minces et transparents en commençant par les endroits les plus foncés et en étendant dans des zones de plus en plus larges.

This is the finished piece. 24"x18" acrylics on masonite.

This is the finished piece. 24″x18″ acrylics on masonite. – Voici l’oeuvre finie. 24″x18″ acrylique sur masonite.

I kept the tight render around her face and left hand and the folds of her dress more simple and geometric. I was influenced by J.C. Leyendecker for the dress and even used hatching for some of the shading.

J’ai gardé le rendu précis autour du visage et de la main gauche et j’ai fait les plis de sa robe plus simples et géométriques. J’ai été influencée par J.C. Leyendecker pour la robe et j’ai même hachuré certaines ombres.

Close-up of the Leyendecker folds

Close-up of the Leyendecker folds – Gros plan des plis à l’influence Leyendecker.

The last step was varnish. I only varnished areas covered with paint because if I covered areas with varnished motifs, the patterns would disappear. We would lose the tapestry pattern and the mountains. So I’m precise in my application and I use regular gloss acrylic varnish.

I’m happy with how that commission turned out and so are my clients.

I hope this post was useful to you, if you have any questions about the process or how to commission your own painting, you can contact me at chantal (at) chantalfournier (dot) com.

La dernière étape était de vernir. J’ai seulement vernis les endroits couverts de peinture sinon les montagnes et autres motifs auraient disparus. Alors je doit faire une application précise. J’utilise un vernis acrylique brillant normal.

Je suis contente de la façon que la commende s’est passée et mes clients aussi.

J’espère que cet article vous a été utile, si vous avez des questions sur le processus ou pour commander votre propre peinture, vous pouvez me contacter à  chantal (acommercial) chantalfournier (point) com.

War Witch – Last painting of 2012

I painted this during the evening of December 31st 2012. It’s my last painting of 2012.  War Witch, a movie about child soldiers, inspired the title. When she drinks psychedelic tree sap, the titular war witch sees ghosts of murder victims. They haunt her and, sometimes, they talk to her.

First step of the painting. I usually start with the darks but this time I started with the graphic pattern, then a first pass on the highlights. The highlights are unbleached titanium.

First step of the painting. I usually start with the darks, but this time I started with the graphic pattern, then a first pass on the highlights. The highlights are unbleached titanium.

Second step. I added the dark in raw umber I use thin glazes that I build up slowly. Just untinted medium makes the masonite darker and I can't remove paint or cover up mistakes with light paint, so I have to act with caution.

Second step. I added the dark in raw umber. I use thin glazes that I build up slowly. Just untinted medium makes the masonite darker and I can’t remove paint or cover up mistakes with light paint, so I have to act with caution. I try to preserve as much of the background color as I can, as midtone.

Finished image scanned. This is close to the actual colors.

Finished image scanned. This is close to the actual colors and it’s 8″x10″

One of my goals for 2013 is to build a separate website for my traditional painting. I will have a print store and I will also have originals for sale. Until then, if you are interested in a painting, you can always e-mail me at chantal (at) chantalfournier (dot) com

The Mask

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.

Mask step 1

Here’s what I got, the box and the mask before I did anything to it.

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.

Mask step 2

There it is, smooth and gessoed.

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.

Mask step 3-color

Here it is with the first layer of color.

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.