Monday, February 2, 2009

Still Alive

October 26, 2008
vector art, Adobe Illustrator

My friend Trey wanted to make her own shirt for the 2009 Xena Convention in LA (which is why this post is 3 months delayed; I couldn't share it until after the con was over). The idea is "Xena's not dead! She's still alive - and she's a cylon!" - and also to celebrate Lucy Lawless herself, who has been making a lot of well-performed guest appearances on various shows since Xena: Warrior Princess ended. "Still Alive" is what sums this up best but is also an homage to the wonderful Jonathan Coulton Portal song of the same name. :)

Trey had originally thought of doing this when my mom still owned her silk screening shop so we came up with an idea for a two-color design (white and red on a black shirt). In October we finally got around to putting the design together. I art directed and had Trey find as many profile-shots and other reference images as he could. In Photoshop, I put together a rough made out of 3 Xenas (head, body, arm/chakram) and 3 cylon images (head, body, cylon). The rest was an Illustrator lesson for Trey where I did the entire image, step-by-step and she followed along, copying me on her own computer and file. Trey's final decision was to use my file, though hers is nearly identical.

Dressage Painting

12" x 16" oil on canvas
December 2007

I did this painting as a Christmas gift for my dad's partner just this last December. It is from a photograph my dad took of her and her horse doing dressage. I painted this in one day in no more than 7 hours. I tried scanning it but I used so much Liquin in it that it scanned as a big shiny glare, so this image is from two crappy photos combined.

As always, I took "progress" photos (and as always, I remember after I've blocked in about 2 square inches of canvas already):
• sketched in
Background blocked in
background and figures blocked in

One valuable tool I used on this piece was a silicone paint brush. I don't have it here with me and I cannot find anything like it online or I'd show you. It basically looks like a short-handled paintbrush, size 1 or 2, but instead of bristles it has a flexible silicone tip. They come in rounds and flats and the one I have is a strange sword-tip shape, like a round with two planes carved along it. I bought it because I thought it would be great for doing little details since it would never lose its point. Instead I learned it was horrible for laying down paint - it tended to wipe it off instead. So I began using it to clean up tiny accidents, a job for which it is well suited. On this painting, working wet-in-wet, I used it for scraping out the fence posts and the fence wire from the background so the red paint wouldn't mix in with the green, and also to give the fence posts white tips. It also worked well to help define the shadows on the arena rails, giving the edges a watercolor look. Yay! My brush finally came into its own. :)