Had this hanging in my room in elementary school all the way through senior year. She’s still working that glow in the dark nail polish I painted in her pupils when I was 16!
In 2011 I finished a large scale hanging pen and ink drawing entitled The Fearsome Distance Between What We Say and What We Mean. It consisted of 6 different 60”x43” panels hung in front of one another and staggered. The effect was meant to create a cohesive image that changed and revealed greater complexity based on your point of view and proximity from the drawings. Here are the various panels from that work by themselves.
Digging through the archives… ‘Let me put it to you this way’, oil on canvas, 2008, Elise Azam Mravunac
This was the second painting I did using a doctored version of the 5 layer Flemish painting technique. It brought a lot of focus to my process, although I have several panels of sprawling, complicated under paintings that I never finished because with this technique there isn’t a lot of wiggle room to change the composition or colors once you start. That’s why most paintings that use this technique are still lifes, portraits, and other images with natural, predictable color combinations that can be planned out beforehand. There are still some color issues with this piece because I kept adjusting the color combinations of non-flesh colored items.
Anyway, here’s what I did.
1.) You start with a hard panel primed with an oil painting ground (I used gamblin ground). This is going to give the maximum chemical bond with the oil paint.
2.) You then sketch a final drawing laying out your composition and transfer it to the panel using carbon paper.
3.) Go over the transferred image on the panel with brown or burnt sienna ink.
4.) Apply a medium toned wash over the entire canvas, I used Gamblin’s transparent earth red which mimics a pigment the old masters used. Lock in the layer with a transparent layer of glaze, I used a mixture of Gamblin’s Galkyd with Gamsol odorless mineral spirits.
You will lock in every successive layer of color with a layer of transparent glaze. This mixture will start out 90% Gamsol, 10% Galkyd than increase as you go through the layers. You let each layer of glaze dry and when you’re done with the painting light will physically penetrate the layers, giving the luminous, buttery ‘Old Master painting’ look that people go crazy for.
5.) Block in your shadows with burnt umber. Apply the transparent layer, 80% Gamsol, 20% Galkyd
6.) Go over your highlights with a lighter wash of burnt umber. Apply the transparent layer, 80% Gamsol, 20% Galkyd
7.) Apply the ‘dead layer’ using zinc white, ivory black, and burnt umber. This is where you go over the entire painting’s shadows and highlights and basically paint it using these three colors creating a desaturated version of the painting. Apply the transparent layer, 80% Gamsol, 20% Galkyd
8.) After that you’re free to start injecting color into the painting, although to keep the ‘old master’ look you’ll want to use the earth-based pigments they had available. Be sure to lock each individual layer of color that you use with a mixture of 50% Gamsol and 20% Galkyd. After a while, you’ll probably start mixing your colors a bit.
If you’ve made it this far I’ll confess that I painted this 5 years ago and my memory is a bit fuzzy. I did kind of wing it as I got to the last layers when I painted this, if any of you art nerds notice some gross factual inaccuracies feel free to let me know.
Here’s a pretty decent resource that I googled when I needed a little help remember how exactly I did the ‘dead layer’: http://www.ribakova.com/eng/articles/2?id=25
As part of an ongoing project to increase my creative output, I’ve decided to follow creative whims regardless of where they come from instead of over thinking or over analyzing their worth.
2013: the year of NOT over-thinking.
I’ve been inspired by Ari Cohen’s blog Advanced Style for some time and a few weeks ago got addicted to RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 4, specifically watching the pitch perfect Arron Coady perform as himself and as Sharon Needles. The world gives unfair advantages to those with the ‘gift of gab’, but I can’t deny that the compelling mix of a visually fascinating, inspiring, and timely gimmick (of Sharon) with a layered, warm, and vulnerable personality underneath (of Aaron) feels so fresh and is so exciting to watch.
So, here are some drunken photos I took of myself paying subtle homage to RuPauls Drag Race Season 4 Winner Sharon Needles as her shorter, elderly mother.
(Yolandi Visser coat handmade by me, dress available in my vintage clothing boutique: http://www.etsy.com/shop/eaminternational)