Friday, December 9, 2011

Work in Progress

by Eric Fortune

I have a few different pieces I'm currently working on. Here's what I've been spending my time on the passed few days. As you can see I have my photo ref posted up. If you're not into using photo reference or find yourself struggling with figurative issues, drapery issues, any other issues go get some reference. I highly recommend taking your own reference. This is consistently my most offered advice to art students besides "do art as often as possible".

One thing I've been doing lately which I find helpful is making a very low res version of my color comp that breaks down the image into large blocks of color. It makes for a nice palette guide.

I focused a lot of my initial time doing wet on wet washes on the background. I knew I wanted the background to be fairly dark and chromatic. Having these large dark areas blocked in early helps give me some relative sense of value for the figure and the rest of the piece. Painting on an all white surface can be rather misleading. Context is important and can often make things look dark enough when they should probably be darker. As you can see I've started in on the figure though she has a long way to go.


  1. Nice man! Thanks for the low res comp tip I will definitively need to try that out. Loving the progress so far can't wait to see the finished piece.

  2. Thanks for Sharing. Where do you hire your models, or do you mostly just use friends/family for your reference shoot?

  3. is that acrylic or watercolor?

  4. This is acrylic diluted with water and painted on 300lb Arches hot press. I use friends and family for photo ref. I also use myself as a model if necessary...mostly for paintings of ruggedly handsome, buff characters;)

  5. the idea of using a low resolution version of your color comp is brilliant. i'm going to give it a try. :)

  6. Eric,

    Thanks for putting the effort into the video! I really enjoyed seeing you flip your artwork around to get the right angles. It's nice to know I'm not the only one who will be spinning my paintings/drawings around to get the details right! haha...

    Arches hot press is the best, however, I use it for drawings.

    I'll have to try out the low rez color comp tip!

    Thanks again,

  7. That looks beautiful so far! Nice color shift from the red to the ochre areas.

    1. You use the best music for your vids. Reminds of falling rain and wind, sets and reflects the mood of the image. Nice!
    2. Wetting the paper only in the areas where paint is going to be applied is a new thing learnt. Thanks!
    3. Palette guide is a welcome tip as well. Thanks!

    Looking forward to the final :-)

  8. Some questions in an email:

    "I'm a senior Illustration major at SCAD and I was wondering if you could answer a quick question for me.

    In the new video that you posted yesterday, you're applying washes but the piece doesn't seem to be taped/glued to your board, how is it fixed so that the paper doesn't start to wrinkle up? I've been using gum tape and stretching my paper to gator board but I like how you're able to keep the deckled edges on yours. Also, the surface seems to constantly be wet when you're applying new washes but I never see you wetting the paper, how are you keeping it that saturated with water all of the time or am I just missing it in the sped up video?

    Thanks for any help you can give, the new piece looks great. "

    Some answers from me:

    Q- "how is it fixed so that the paper doesn't start to wrinkle up?"

    A- The paper does buckle and warp. If it gets to a point where it's affecting my painting too much I thoroughly wet the paper on the front and back and let it absorb the water until it relaxes and expands a bit. I then lay it flat in between two pieces of white mat board. I set a piece of plywood on top of the sandwich and add some weight on top to really flatten it. About 70lbs. It gets flattened for a day or so. When I pull out the painting it's usually missing most of the buckling. I use a bull clip and let it dry hanging for about 15 minutes in case there is any residual moisture in the paper. If there is moisture and the paper is laying flat on a surface the residual water will have no where to escape except the top, exposed side. This will cause it to dry faster on the exposed surface and curl upwards. This is why I hang it to dry. So it gets more even exposure and doesn't curl.

    I adhere my paper to gator board using rolled up pieces of tape, sticky side out. Try using high tack tape, that has a little more sticking power. Also, a heavier stock of paper, I'm using 300lb hot press mostly, buckles a little less than lighter weight paper.

    Q- "how are you keeping it that saturated with water all of the time or am I just missing it in the sped up video?"

    A- You're missing it in the video. If you look closely you can see I'm using two brushes. The larger flat brush is loaded with water. This is when I'm wetting the specific area I'm about to paint on. Then you see me use a round brush to add on the actual paint.

    Thanks for the questions. I hope this clears things up a little bit.



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