22 June 2016

The Statuarial Watercolours, Part 1

Statuarial 2
15" x 22", watercolour, 2016

I've been collecting images of statues for many years now, and I'm finally using more of them in my paintings. There's just something about these ancient sculptures that I find fascinating; aesthetically, it's the smoothness of the materials (whether it's white stone or black marble or green, oxidized bronze) and the stunning accuracy of the figures and drapery.

But there's something more...something about their permanence, their mythological connection, their idealized perfection...and their scale, too, often being much larger than life.

I could paint these forever and still feel I haven't captured the amazingness of them; you'll just have to go to Italy and see these statues yourself.

I had initially prepped these over a year ago with the intent to paint them using wine (like my experiments with Baco Noir about five years ago) for a solo show at Closson Chase winery last year (for which I showed the first ten paintings of my Tournament of Shadows series instead). However, the first painting (a statue of the god Vulcan) wasn't working out to my satisfaction, so I decided to scrap the whole painting in wine gimmick (it's highly unlikely I'll ever return to that medium) and put the Statuarial project on indefinite hold.

I did use a few of the images when I was invited to join the Blizzmax On A Roll group show later that year, but rendered the statues in pencil. It was very fun, but it only served to remind me that this was also not to my total satisfaction; I liked the pencil work, but still felt these images would be better done in watercolours or maybe even oils.

A few months ago, while working on a couple of illustration assignments rendered in watercolour, I started feeling a strong urge to return to that medium for my own work, and, of course, I remembered these six paintings-in-waiting (seven, if you include Vulcan, but, what with all that useless wine all over him, that painting was unsalvageable).

I thought briefly about including more colour, but decided to keep a very limited palette for the figures (using only Indian Red and Indigo) and a strong, warm colour for the backgrounds (Indian Red).

These are the results.


Statuarial 1
15" x 22", watercolour, 2016

20 June 2016

Mister Forty-sixer Poster 2

17" x 11", photography and digital, 2016

Following up on the original Mister Forty-sixer poster from earlier this month, I figured, since another of my friends is turning 46 this year (today!), maybe he could be included in this weird fake movie. I grabbed a suitable pic from his Facebook images, but thought that Tony looking at his phone wasn't dramatic enough, so I incorporated Chris (the titular Mr. 46-er) as a hologram who's apparently just made Tony the Elf's hit list –which, I presume because of his thoroughness, will only be checked once (this caption, as the one in the previous poster, also doesn't make any sense either, as well).

Wouldn't it be fun –in a weird way, I guess– to see a movie whose entire cast is 46 years old?


04 June 2016

Mister Forty-sixer Poster

17" x 11", photography & digital, 2016

Back in 1999, I did some illustration and design for Markham Youth Theatre's production of City of Angels, and among the materials I created was a t-shirt featuring a hard-boiled detective, a staple of the film noir genre.

For the reference, I knew I had to call upon my friend Chris because of his particularly strong profile, so I put him in a jacket and hat, gave him my .45 caliber water pistol, then shot him with a strong backlight using my trusty 35mm Minolta SLR using black and white film stock.

I used the source photo pretty much as is. The nice vignetting/spotlight was caused by my studio lamps when I shot Chris, but the weird snowy noise was probably caused by age (it suited the poster, co I didn't clean it up in Photoshop).
This wasn't a regular 4" x 6" print, but a trimmed part from a contact sheet, so it was tiny. Still, I didn't scan the photo but instead I photographed it using some new macro filters I'd recently acquired for my Nikon DSLR. The screw-on filters are not so great (note the blurring around the outer edges) but they were inexpensive.

Around that same time I used Chris as my model for my painting Smokes and Baskets.

A few weeks ago, when I came upon the source image for the detective while rummaging through my photos, I thought it'd be fun to make some kind of teaser movie poster with it, knowing his 46th birthday was imminent (today!).


02 June 2016

U.S.S. Enterprise Refit Restoration, Part 3

Back in January, in my previous progress report, I had attempted to sand down as much of this AMT/ERTL Enterprise kit's brick-like "panelling" texture, and filled gaps and seam lines with Bondo. It went fairly well, and the faint remainder shouldn't bother me too much in the end.


The saucer section had some major gaps along the rim joining the top and bottom halves, but a fresh application of cement and lots of clamping fixed most of it.


The primer phase revealed not only remaining gaps that still needed filling (expected, since the first primer application is usually where these shortcomings are made apparent), but also the rough texture left behind by my sanding of the bricky panels. I was fairly aggressive with my sanding, so it was no surprise. Luckily, this roughness was dealt with easily later on...


I love Lou Dalmaso's term as it's sort of a lighthearted way of complaining about the gaps left when two parts don't fit together perfectly (which is pretty normal).

Ugly joins.

This nastiness on the impulse engines was the result of a sloppy and aggressive application of Bondo. Sanding it down fixed much of it.

Slight gaposis.

The gaps revealed by the primer were fairly slight, but enough to need another filling.

Horrible pitting.

I had glued the kit-provided base to the lower hull back in 1992 when I first built this Enterprise, and removing it had some nasty effects. More filling is required.


I like Bondo for filling gaps and seam lines, but I wanted to see what this Tamiya putty was like, so the next round of filling was exclusively this white putty. I used a toothpick to apply it and it went on very well.


Once cured, the Tamiya putty was very easy to sand down. I used 400 grit paper for that and then went over the entire ship with it to smooth down the roughness left from my previous body-wide sanding, and that worked very well; the ship is now smooth all over. However, this sanding phase revealed my second round of filling wasn't quite enough and a third round is needed.

After sanding, I rinsed off the dust and, once the putty cures, I'll re-apply some more putty, then sand again, then re-prime to see if there is still any gaposis left. I'll fill a fourth time, but that's all the patience I have in me for this project; remember: this is a very old kit.

The next round of filling and sanding will look pretty much like this entire progress report, so the next phase I'll be actually posting is the assembly of the warp pylons to the engineering hull (using glue but installing metal rods to avoid sagging) and attaching the saucer section (using just glue) to the neck. Then I have to fill those seam lines...