Friday, December 25, 2009

Cessna 180 N2294C

Oil on illustration board, 40" x 20", 3 days

I did this for my dad for his Christmas present. I really don't know how long it took to do but it happened over the course of 5 days, but I didn't work entire days. Anyhow, I painted it from a photo of my dad and his airplane, a Cessna 180. I think the photo was taken at the Kustatan River on the western side of Cook Inlet here in Alaska. My dad no longer has the airplane but it was a big part of all our lives. My dad got his pilot's license only a month after he got his drivers license and went to college to be a professional pilot, though that is not what he ended up doing. He got this airplane before I was born and my sister and I pretty much grew up in that airplane. We would at least fly once a month if not once a week until I went to college. I miss flying and I miss that plane terribly. I think my dad is content with his boat now but hopefully he'll like this painting. :)

Below are some in-progress photos. All of these are a bit warped because the illustration board is a bit curled. Ah well. There are 4 pictures, one for each day, basically, not counting the final piece (click on the above thumbnail to see the final piece larger).

Penciled in. That took several hours. O_O;

Blocked in. Normally I'd stain the entire canvas but time was not on my side - see, one nasty thing about illustration board is that it sucks up the paint so it takes a LOT more paint (and more time) to block in the piece.

Plane underside shaded and clouds done.

Airplane and other items colored in and grass added (I hate it).
After this step the only things that were added were the plane numbers, the corrugation on the tail flap, highlights on the white bits of plane, Pop's fishing pole, and my signature - things that couldn't be done with so much wet stuff going on previously.


Overall it looks pretty sharp I think. Its an awesome photo of the plane anyway and I am pretty pleased with the saturated colors and the clean lines I managed with the plane (as in, how crisply I painted the whole plane, not just the stripes on it, though I gotta say those were a pain. Steady-handed surgeons watch out!) I hate painting grass and rather like it all impressionistic and I think maybe the whole piece could be more successful if everything but the plane and Pop were blurry but your eye doesn't really ever settle in the grass so I don't think it matters. It's a gift, not a gallery piece and a good chance to try things out and learn.


Oil on canvas, 12" x 16"
I didn't keep proper track of time on this one since I split the time across two days but it took longer than Shadow. I'd guess maybe 10 hours. (the dark shadow across the top is from my easel, sorry).

My second Christmas present painting is done! This one is of my Aunt PeterAnn's old dog Damien who was very dear to her. Damien died when I was 2 or 3 but I have faint memories of her. Because I was so young, I couldn't say her name properly so it always came out "Dame-er". I referred to her as Damer for years and always thought it strange when my Aunt referred to her by her actual name and to this day I default to "Damer". ;)

The photo this was painted from was poorly composed as far as light goes; Damien's eyes weren't lit at all, for one, so I had to play a few things up a bit. What's kinda funny is that the photo this is from lives on the same page as the reference photo for Shadow. Its kind of fun that I happened to paint two photos from the same page of the same album of two dogs in the same house when we all lived at my grandparents. :)

It was harder to find a line between detail and generalizations with my brush strokes, which is why this one took longer, since Damien HAD more detail to paint. I think the halo effect semi-sorta kinda worked. It was harder to know where the blues in her fur lived and I think I could of gotten her chest shaded a bit darker but it works. I painted it under harsh kitchen lighting so it looks fantastic under more dim, usual lighting. Though I think Shadow is way more successful as an art piece, I think my aunt will like Damer just fine. ^_^

And I happened to take a photo of this painting after I got it blocked in so you can see what it looked like at the midpoint:

One final note of trivia; both the Damer and Shadow paintings are recycled! They use canvases that were part of this stupid 7-canvas painting I started in highschool but never finished. Another fun thing that binds the two art pieces (the others are: same paint, same dimensions, same photo album, same location, same time period). :D

Monday, December 14, 2009


Oil on canvas, 16"x12", 7 hours

Okay, here's the final painting. This is for my mom for Christmas. Its based on a photo of the first dog we had when I was growing up, some kind of shepherd named Shadow. She was about 6 years older than me and lived to be 14 or so. I'd done a pretty good watercolor of this when I was a kid but it was part of a portfolio I'd used to skip a bunch of basic art classes in school and the school system lost the portfolio. I've always been pretty bummed at the loss of that watercolor but it was also my mom's favorite. When I was looking through photo albums to come up with ideas for paintings for Christmas this year, I came across the original photo of Shadow and *bing* the proverbial lightbulb went off in my head and here we are. :)

Here's a detail of the eyes: