27 March 2017

Ralph Vint

Ralph Vint
24" x 24", oil on panel, 2017

What appealed to me most about doing this portrait commission was the candid and casual non-posed look of the subject in the reference photo provided. I really like how he looks as though he'd been looking away and his wife, sitting beside him, snapped a quick photo just as he turned his head to face her.

Pencil phase.

The vintage photo had enough contextual details to indicate Ralph was sitting behind the wheel of a car and I wanted to make sure this was clear by not cropping anything out that might take him out of that setting (specifically, the steering wheel and the hint of windshield in the top right).

Blocking in shadows.

The usual: olive green shadow blocking to get my thoughts organized and get things going.

Blocking in the skin tones.

Refining the skin tones.

Early highlights.

Further refinement.

Nearly done.

I like that car in the background; it helps set this painting some time in the late '70s or early '80s, but it's asking for a little bit too much attention, so it'll get pushed back a bit with some transparent white.



03 March 2017

Andy's Dressing Illustration Elements

Dill Weed
15" x 11", watercolour, 2016, private collection

Beehive (Skep)
15" x 11", watercolour, 2016, private collection

These label illustrations were done last year for a local Prince Edward County business getting underway called PEC Foods that specializes in an all-purpose dressing that is suitable for many kinds of foods besides salads. This is a sort of sneak peek since these elements will only be part of the label in a combined illustration which also features a watercolour portrait I did of Andy.

Andy's first dressing style is honey dill (that much should be obvious) and I can honestly say that it's quite tasty.




04 February 2017

Romulan Bird of Prey ATROPOS (1/650 scale model), Part 2

Actual simulation.

I Photoshopped the primered ship onto my original cover image, so it's a false/not-false representation of the current status of the Atropos.

Supposedly accurate paper templates.

In Part 1 I mentioned watching a video of a cobbler making a template for a shoe using crumpled paper, and I tried that technique to make a template for my hull panels. I made several templates, each time adding or subtracting small bits of paper to make them as accurate as possible. The forward raised area in the middle and the rear engine assembly are slightly off-centre, so each template had to be custom-built, meaning I couldn't just make one and use the mirror image (i.e. flip it over) to make the other. I'll be way more careful centering parts next time I'm kitbashing.

Result of template exercise.

I traced my paper templates onto some sheet styrene and cut out four pieces, two for each side, to achieve the level of thickness I wanted for the top (to sit just below the kit's middle horseshoe section). I roughed up the surface of the ship and the undersides of all four panels with sandpaper for better adhesion, then used glue (CA glue on the flat parts and Tamiya Extra Thin around the edges) and clamps to put everything together (the ship's surface slopes very gently from the middle section to the outside edges, so clamping is needed rather than weights).

The top layer is supposed to curve back from the bottom on the leading edge like that...

...however...

More symmetry problems.

...I misjudged my curve and ended up with more symmetry problems (the right curves back too much; the left is okay). I added a very thin slice of sheet styrene to the right to bring it back up "to code," but if I had Romulan contractors, I'd be in big trouble.

Putty party.

I used Tamiya White putty to fill in the gaps between the raised hull parts and my new panels. Lots of filling and sanding and filling and sanding at this stage...

Bracing for elevation.

That long dragster "keel" I added to the bottom of the ship is pretty deep, so my bottom panels would have to be "thicker" than the top ones (not to blend in with the keel, but come just under its edge). Instead of adding four or five layers of sheet styrene to build that thickness, my plan was to add a few pieces of rod styrene (left over from building the trailer for the Puppet Wagon) to give me a high point to attach to and the outer edges of the panels would attach to the ship, sloping downwards from the keel.

Clamped.

This thin sheet styrene is very flexible, so it was pretty easy to make the panels slope from the keel to the outer edges of the hull.

Starboard side and putty.

Filling the rear gaps.

Of course, my sloping method means there's a hollow area between the panels and the original hull, so this resulted in triangular gaps at the rear. I cut some small strips to fit and glued them in place. They needed some trimming and puttying, and it worked out, eventually. All this body work is giving me good practice for my Jetta builds down the road...

First coat of primer.

...but all the puttying and sanding was starting to wear me down a bit and I had to know just how much more work was needed to finalize the top and bottom hulls. The best way to do that is to shoot some primer on the model and the uniform colour will reveal any shortcomings –and there are lots, but I now know what to fix and work on.

I'm happy that things are definitely coming along with the hulls 'cause I need a break. My next step is going to be figuring out exactly how my lighting rig fits into the ship...