Saturday, January 17, 2015

"Window Light" : Time-lapse Video

-By Dave Palumbo

It has been years since my last painting time-lapse and, as my process since then has changed a bit, I felt an update was due.

In general, I aim to make my process as direct as possible.  I've pulled away from tight pencil transfers and tend to do my drawing directly with the paint whenever possible (I'll still go to transfers for various situations, such as heavy architectural details) which needs a day or two to dry before I can more forward.  This makes live demonstrations challenging.  I'd usually show up with that part finished and dry so I can get to the interesting stuff, but here I am showing everything starting with the priming of the surface.



I should also note that, as in all of my work, I am painting from a photo reference and not a live model.  I'd use this same basic approach for life painting, measurement checking and all. 

20 comments:

  1. This is ridiculous in every good way- and completely beautiful. I'd been looking forward to seeing another video from you! I can tell how much fun you had with it. Nothing could have inspired me more today.

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  2. This is amazing!
    I have to ask - where did you first learn to oil paint?
    The reason being that I'm just starting out with oil painting (the water-based windsor newton specifically) and I'm trying to figure out how to get the paint to actually move. Like in the first few seconds, can you just mix the paint right out? Mine tends to just kind of clump together rather than smoothly combine. Is that what the towel is for?
    Really if I could figure out the first few basics, I think that I would have a much better time using my oils, but as of right now they just tend to frustrate me faster than anything...
    Lastly, do you have some very basic, beginner tutorials on getting the paint to blend well or mixing the paint correctly?

    Other than that, this piece looks amazing! And I hope to one day get to this level with my oils...
    Hope you have a good day!

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    1. Hi Mathew,

      I didn't start painting until I went to school and my program was very academic/traditional. Besides that, the best resource on painting which I've yet come across is Richard Schmidd's "Alla Prima." Apart from the chapter on how working from photos will kill your soul, I am in agreement with just about everything Schmidd has to say on the subject.

      As far as your water soluble oils go, I'm afraid I can't help you there. I've never used them, but I understand they can have a very different character than traditional oils. The likely thing would be to add medium to loosen them up, but that is only an educated guess because I haven't tackled that problem personally.

      With traditional oils, most are very fluid and smooth fresh out of the tube. Sometimes you find a tube or brand which comes out stiff, but (I've been told) this usually just means that the pigment-to-oil ratio is a bit more pigment heavy andso it will loosen up with a bit of oil or medium. More often I find tubes that have too much oil and the first few squeezes come out really runny. If you are not alergic or have any other health concerns which are preventing you from using true oils, I'd suggest trying them as a comparison and see if they respond better. I've met a few people who like the water soluble oils, but most I've asked seem to find them a bit more challenging.

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    2. oh, one other tip on mixing: you'll notice in the video that I approach the final stage with a wet-on-wet method of building up the paint. I like this because it keeps me thinking reactively and mixing both on the palette AND on the surface. It also is very efficient in allowing me to find a midtone in the general color and then push it into shadows and highlights and adding nuances and such, which all feels very natural to me. If you are going to work this way, the critical thing to know is that, at least the early color washes if nothing else, you have to begin thin and build up to heavier strokes. You can see this happen in the video. If I had started laying down heavily loaded strokes first thing, I'd have a big mushy grey mess on my hands in about five minutes. Save the heavier application for when you know what the color and value of a given stroke want to be

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  3. Nice work! Question about the red/green combo for the underpainting, was it a trick of the light or does it really go that purple? In any case, great results, I love how she comes to life with each passage. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. good question. I can't be sure how it looks on your monitor of course, but I did my best to color correct accurately and, indeed, it does end up either a neutral shade of purple or a purple shade of neutral depending how you want to look at it. Both Alizarin and Pthalo (the non-proprietary name of what Winsor green is) are very strong colors, so my mixes tend to be a bit green or a bit purple, and sometimes both in different areas. The pthalo stains in almost immediately though, where as the alizarin wipes out a bit if I want to pull highlights out so I tend to err on the alizarin side.

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  4. Wow,BGM is heart pounding,color combination is great,drawing is not about being real,is about express,am I right?

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    1. thanks! agreed, in that I feel realism and expressive style balance each other to make something *feel* real. Without the expressive element, it is too mechanical for me.

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  5. Thanks for filming this, Dave! You seem to have entered that category of painters whose work doesn't have an ugly stage. Mesmerizing (and just a little frustrating!) to watch. Great piece!

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    1. Thanks man! I don't know how much I'd agree, but whatever amount I can is probably owed to the few chances I had to learn from Burt Silverman. His approach (as I remember him describing it) was to always go for the next most important stroke so that whenever you walk away from the painting it is in a state of *relative* completion. Watching his painting emerge was like watching a camera pull into focus: the picture was there from the beginning, it just continues to take on more nuance and tangibility. My method is far from capturing the elegance of his, but little by little we push forwards :)

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    2. Wow, that must've been a hell of an experience to learn from him. I remember watching an old VHS of his, where every ten minutes or so he'd do something or the other that you'd swear had ruined to the painting, only to bring it back even better. Talk about confidence.

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  6. Beautiful work, and thank you for sharing your process. I have a question about how you're laying out the figure. Are you using a sight size method with a reference pic?

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  7. Got a chance to see some of your originals at the LA Art Show. Really great and I'm not surprised how much better they were in the flesh so to speak, knew they would be.

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    1. thanks! I wish I'd been able to see the show, one of these years...

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