Monthly Archives: February 2012

Easter stencil project: Further updates.

So as per my second to last blog I arrayed a grand total of 21 different cans of spraypaint and got ready to paint. As per my last blog, it rained. A lot.
So I painted other things and waited for the rain to part. After striking a bargain with the great and mighty Thor for a bit of leniency on the weather front I got down to some serious stencil work. It took a couple of days to get through the last 8 layers using four different colour schemes; Below are the progress shots with a brief description of the colour choice for each.
Original colour scheme
The title of these one pretty much covers it. It is the original colour palette used when developing the stencils for the painting. The grey for the screens was achieved by converting all the individual images into greyscale images before compiling and filtering them. I choose to use red for the obey in the background simply for the impact value and the connotations with warnings. The original crucifixion painting used for the foreground image on the screens was from a painting by Francisco de Zurbar├ín; The choice of browns I selected was the best fit for the paintings original colours.
Blue colour scheme
I originally decided to create a limited edition of four colour schemes with only two of them having the greyscale background of screens. Now anybody who has studied the colour schemes around them, done a bit of colour theory or isn’t colour blind knows; Blue and grey go well together. Now with this I could have left the ‘Obey’ on the screens as red for extra shock on the eyes and to create a contrasting bridge between the blues and the greys. However I went with a pale lilac instead for a complimentary bridge between the colours. I think I made the right decision and that it compliments the image very well.
Green colour scheme
For the other two colour schemes I went with a brown (as close as I could get to sepia toned gradient) scheme for the background image of the screens. For the first one of these I wanted to capture more of the old fashioned feel for the paintings. So racking my old memories of computer screens (meaning my first memories of those good old BBC basic computers) with green screens I went with a green colour scheme. For the Obey this time I used Yellow for pretty much the same reason as in the original colour scheme; Both visually striking and associated with warnings. Oh and if you aren’t old enough to remember the BBC basic then just don’t ask, it won’t make any sense to the iPod generation anyway.
Rainbow colour scheme
For the forth and final colour scheme I went for rainbow; With Red being lightest all the way to Purple as the darkest. This colour scheme has a nice little double significance namely; The false colour imaging that is derived from infra-red and also the national flag of gay people everywhere. The first one ties in with the Orwellian vibe going on with whole series of paintings. The second is simple a nice way of pointing out that if there is any group of people other than atheists that Christianity has it in for then it is the homosexuals of the world.

That is all the updates for now. The next stage is to compile all these process shots together and hand them over to my video editor with some banging tunes. Also to have the paintings scanned at hi-res and find a good printers to other limited edition prints of them.

Till next time.


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What I did on the rainy days.

Over the last few weeks it’s been raining a lot. Which considering I can only paint with spraypaint outside, and I don’t have a big enough shed to work in, can be a downside to working with stencils. Also all my stencils are card/paper based, ie. they don’t like being wet at all. So here is what I did during that ‘lovely’ weather.
This is a 25cm by 30cm pre-stretched canvas. From top left to bottom right: Primed canvas with pencil outline. Base coat of acrylic paint. Dried base coat with acrylic paint pen details over the top (Posca and Montana brands). Finished painting with matt finishing coat (modge podge). I had great fun doing this one, the base coat was literally slapped on and around to create the flame/underground effect. The pen work over the top was a little more tricky but not so much as to distract from the joy of creating.
This is a 25cm by 30cm pre-stretched canvas. From left to right: Primed canvas with pencil outline. Base coat of acrylic paint with paint pent overlay, and a matt finishing coat (modge podge). This is my own take on the famous Shepard Fairey Barack Obama Hope poster.
This is a 25cm by 30cm pre-stretched canvas. From left to right: Primed canvas with pencil outline. Base coat of acrylic paint. Paint pent overlay,with acrylic highlights and a matt finishing coat (modge podge). Another one I had fun painting. For some reason despite my mathematical inclination it took me ages to work out how to draw the ice cube for this one. The base coat went down very easily, as did the following pen work on Wormy. I did however forget to take a photo of that stage and it’s hard to see it under the flash on the final pic. The last stage was to paint over Wormy enough to give the appearance of ice without ‘drowning him out’. I achieved this by watering down blue white and silver acrylic paints to watercolour consistency, slathering over the top and patting it dry halfway through the drying time. I am not ashamed to admit that I used my fingers to do this and it made me feel five again (and happy).
This is the final25cm by 30cm pre-stretched canvas. This was simply a time filler whilst I waited for the weather to dry up. Simple pop-art cliche featuring Wormy. Painted with acrylic paints and Montana paintpens finished with matt finishing coat (modge podge).
This I am hoping will be my big project for this year paint brush wise. It’s a 30cm by 40cm prestretched canvas that’s been primed and sketched on. And that is all so far for the simple reason I want to build up my confidence with the old paint brushes first. It has been pretty much a decade since I used them in earnest and I don’t want to botch this one. The subject is the great lord Cthulhu in his rise from the sunken city of R’yleh. Really looking forward to painting this and making it very dark and creepy, not like the other paintings in this post at all. So that is what I did during the rainy season; All of this paintings will be listed on my Etsy store at a feature date once lighting conditions allows for better photographs.
Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn

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Further Easter shenanigans.

In an update from my last blog, here is more about my Easter project.

So when I was last writing I had finished cutting out all of the layers. They have since all been labelled according to where they lie in the process of painting. The next step after that is lug all my tubs full of spraycans out of the shed and decide which ones to use and which ones to buy.

Well first of all we can rule out the second part of that. I am an artist, we are perpetually poor; Even directly after a big commission the first thing that happens with the money is bills get paid. So instead most of us really on the bits and pieces we can pick up cheap and the left overs from commissions that require new/replacement colours.

For the original colour scheme to be used I required 6 shades of grey, 6 shades of brown (ranging from dark brown to light beige), black and a red. First things first the greys; A long time ago when I had a nice regular wage I invested in the complete set of greys offered in the Montana Gold range. The complete range hosts 10 different shades of grey from slightly darker than white moving up in nice increments to just lighter than dark. To anyone considering making grey scale stencils using 12 shades of grey or less I would seriously suggest investing in them, and a can of black and white too of course. (Scratch that I just checked the site and they’ve overhauled the whole range).

However I have since purchasing them used them extensively. Which means I have had to make a slight compromise in which shades of grey I would prefer to use. For a more striking image, usually I select the shades to be as far apart as the number needed will allow. However this time the best choices available to me were 1,2,3,4,5 and 6 or 7 for the base coat, with 1 being the lightest grey. I say 6 or 7 on account of I wish to paint at least two with the lower stencil layers in shades of grey. Here are the pics of those first 6 layers (I’m counting the base coat) on the two canvases.

For the browns my choice was a little easier on account of there were simply less choices for me to make. I unfortunately do not have many shades of cream to choose from but I do have many browns. Just enough for me to choose those just right for the pieces. I intend for two of the four editions to have a sepia photograph feel for the background of the image. Hence the photos below, which are almost exact replicas of those above but with the brown shades used instead of greys.

The next stages will be a little bit more difficult as I not only need to scrounge together some more money for black paint, used the last of it up sprucing up some picture frames. I also will be using 4 different colour schemes instead of just 2 this time. So I will be needing the 6 browns used above, 6 greens, 6 blues, a red, a yellow and some surprise colours that I won’t be revealing until a later date. My next post will be something a little more light hearted with less words, brighter paintings and fun tales of all that I did during the rainy period.

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Easter stencil project.

That’s right, like the supermarkets I started work on my Easter project at the start of this year and I hope to be finished if not before then soon after Valentines day.

Unlike the super markets though I have very good reasons (beyond profit) for starting early. I conceived of the idea for my BIG painting for the Easter season just before New years. And it has taken about a month from concept through design and now preparation to be at the point where I can sit down and begin the actual painting.

Why the hell has it taken so long some of you may be asking? Well first of all it is a stencil project; meaning that even after the stencils have been designed they need to be cut out. And this one has proved to be a long time cutting. That’s not to dismiss the design side of it which alone took 50+ hours, most in the small hours of the morning/late evening sat at a computer pointing and clicking.

There are some stencil makers who let programs such as Photoshop select and ‘draw’ the stencils for them, others who do it all by hand. Frankly I don’t have the skills to draw freehand some of the ideas/concepts I come up with; And when it comes to computers, well, I see them as a tool to be used. Not something to do the work for you but something too make the work easier. Not to mention the hours spent finding ‘just the right’ image/s to work with whilst also maintaining copyright integrity. That is not to say that I’m above using a copyrighted image but that it is a decision that has to be balanced for each image individually. For example the McDonald’s logo for a politico-social parody… Fair game. Another artists work because they can draw it better than me… Not.

The Easter stencil project does feature a piece of artwork from another artist. It features a depiction of the crucifixion by the artist Francisco de Zurbar├ín. This has been used not as an intention to ‘steal’ the artists work but for the use of parody as in the case of the McDonald’s logo; In the case of religious iconography most if not all have now achieved the same status as that of a corporate logo. Organized religion has in fact stripped itself of the miraculous by making everything regimented and ordered. Gone is the spontaneity, glory and wonder and, in it’s place is just another ‘brand’ to be sold to the masses in the same capitalist ways that they are sold their food, clothes and luxury items.

As you may have guessed this project is not simply another ‘I like this subject I’ll do a painting of it’ piece of work from me. This is something a lot closer to my heart and beliefs. It may shock some, it will definitly offend certain others; My only hope is that it is not simply lost in the myriad of anti-religious-establishment works that fill the net like a torrent bursting forth from the pits of Tartarus.

I will have more to say on this piece, there will also be further posts and hopefully a process of production video for peopl to watch, share and enjoy. For now all I will say is that each painting will be roughly A3 in size consist of 15 layers of stencils (16 if one includes the canvas background itself) consisting of 14 colours. I intend to produce 4 different colour variations (paint stocks withstanding), and now with out further ado some process photographs of the layers themselves. (Some of the cut out pieces are as small as 1mm2, which is why it took about three weeks relative time (40+ subjective) to cut it all out).

Here are a couple of shots of how the layers line up. ‘Cause I know some of you out there get their kicks from this sort of thing.

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