Thursday, June 4, 2015

The FINAL STRETCH


Beren and Luthien in the Court of Thingol and Melian   110" x 60"   Oil on Linen
by Donato 

The large oil painting I have been working upon these past months is finally completed -  Beren and Luthien in the Court of Thingol and Melian.  The image is a scene from J.R.R. Tolkien's The Silmarillion and stands as Tolkien's great tragic love story.

The moment depicted is when Beren and Luthien confront the King and Queen of the Elves (Luthien's parents) and declare their love for each other.  In a rage that a mere mortal would consider marrying his daughter, King Thingol challenges Beren to return to court with a Silmaril, one of three most valuable gem stones to the Elves, in his hand before he hands over his daughter in marriage.  The catch for Beren is that these gem stones are on the crown of the evil god Melkor, Sauron's Master, deep in the fortress Angband, populated by thousands of orcs, dragons and Balrogs.  For the outcome of the story, take a read through The Silmarillion, for my part here is done!

Below are a few shots of my assistant Kelley Hensing and I as we prepare the final linen for transport. It is no small stressful task to remove this linen from the wall and properly stretch it.  Luckily my years spent working as an assistant to Vincent Desiderio helped educate me on such procedures and made the stretching and transfer go smoothly and perfectly.

Application of the Final Varnish

Trimming the excess linen in preparation for stretching
 

The beginning of stapling the linen to the stretcher bars.  It took nearly two full hours and blisters on both hands to finish this.

 After stapling the linen to the bars, the final adjustments are made by cranking out the expansion joints to tighten the linen to the perfect tension.




Final crate building.  Goodbye Beren and Luthien!  You will be missed...



16 comments:

  1. Great finish!! Do you know if this one will ever be available for display? ... or is it going straight to someone's residence?

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    1. Wish I had the time to put this on display, but it is heading out to California next week and into a private collection. You will have the be satisfied with all the online images!

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  2. Beautiful work, Donato and no doubt a masterpiece. I love seeing the unspoken work that goes into finalizing the project, e.g. stretching and building the crate to ship it out.

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  3. Incredible! It's been a real pleasure seeing this gorgeous piece progress!

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  4. Very inspiring! I loved watching the progression of this project.

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  5. I'm exhausted. I could fit four complete exhibitions in that box. Now paint another just like it.

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  6. Wow! An amazingly beautiful accomplishment.

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  7. Absolutely gorgeous Donato! I hope to see it in person someday.

    Where do you get the hardware for the expansion joints? Those look very useful!

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    1. HI Howard, these are stretchers made by a company in Brooklyn, fully custom, name is Simon Liu. Expensive, but worth ever cent when I use pre-primed linen which is very difficult to pull tight with enough tension.

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  8. Donato, I really love seeing the process of preparing, finishing and packaging of your painting.

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  9. This work is phenomenal!! I can only imagine how it must feel to be able to view it in person. Incredible!

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  10. The painting is magnificent Donato! Great composition, color, lighting, characters, and building design. I presume the stretching after completion was done because the painting was too large to get out the door of your studio? The stretcher itself looks like a work of art, with the fancy adjustable joints. However, it does occur to me that stretching the canvas later would add stress and tension to the dried oil paint, possibly leading to premature cracking.

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  11. Hi. I was just curious about your varnishing process. I don't paint with oils, but I thought they had to dry for quite a while before the varnish could be applied? Thanks! :)

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  12. Hi Donato, Congratulations on completing your monumental piece! It takes a Huge amount of energy to complete such a large piece especially when you push yourself to make it work so beautiful!

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  13. I love to see people do visual renderings. I got started writing poetry writing poems about Belariand. Great job!

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