Saturday, December 4, 2010

Time is a funny thing inside my mind...

I have said it before and will probably say it again, time is flying and it seems that it is increasingly difficult to properly maintain my blog. But this is the nature of being an ambitious. I actually have quite a collection of photos intended for my blog, which go back to the summertime. I should have time during the winter to play catch up; I hope...

In the meantime, here are some teasers from this past week's activities. The photos below are not professional images and were taken with my digital camera by either myself or Ziggy. The professional images we will get back sometime in the next week.

I have been wanting to paint a full scale backdrop for my body painting photoshoots, as well as to incorporate my hobby of mask making. So on tuesday just past, I started painting with my artist friend, Elissa Baltzer, on my 14 foot raw canvas. Keeping in mind that I am a self-taught artist, I had no idea that the canvas needed to literally be stretched  before using. I was informed after the fact that the technique is to soak the canvas in water then hang it to dry and it will naturally stretch out. I didn't do this and ended up with the canvas rippling and becoming an odd shape to what it was when I tacked it on the wall to start painting. I did consider using the ripples to my advantage such as turning those ripples into tree branches but I ran out of time to add more details.

Raw canvas on the roll also does not come as wide as I need, so the 14 feet were split in half so I had two peices that were approx. 5 feet wide by 7 feet long but combined together side by side became 10 feet by 7 feet. I didn't have the time or resources to do anything about the seam split between the canvases and decided to deal with that later by using GIMP (free software equivalent to photoshop).

I also didn't predict very acurately how much gesso is needed to prime a canvas of this size, we turned out to be short on gesso, one large bottle of gesso primed 1/2 of the canvas. We had to become very creative in preparing the canvas by mixing water, left over gesso with white paint and artist medium; not in the slightest bit an ideal primer but better then no primer at all.

As is normal for me, I was late getting started on tuesday and Elissa only had that one day to help me; so in the end she spent 3 hours helping me with the primer and some of the base colours. The painting was originally intended to be a collaboration so I ended up painting solo.

I swear I told her how big the canvas was, but it's possible I just thought about telling her and didn't in fact mention that how huge it was. I do know I kept saying a "backdrop" which I literally meant to be a backdrop but Elissa had in her mind what she had seen me do before which was using my paintings as props in the photos so she thought we were doing a "large small painting". On the upside, we both now have a much better idea of what it will take to jointly create such a massive backdrop in the future (not to mention the amount of supplies needed).

Including Elissa's initial 3 hours of work, it took approxemately 26 hours in total to finish the painting. Wednesday evening I skipped my class (much to the chargrin of Ziggy) and stayed up till 6am in the morning on thursday, the day of the photoshoot, painting non-stop.

I finished the mask in the afternoon on the day of the shoot, with some details being finished during body painting preparations. The body painting itself was a 5 hour endeuver working on a pregnant model. Elissa body painted a second model who happened to be the sister of my model, who was also pregnant. Plus make-up & hair.

 Needless to say I still feel very exhuasted, but I feel really good about the results and can't wait to get the photos back from the photographer, Andrei Kalamkarov. The documentary maker, James Anthony McElligott, also had a chance to come down to collect some film footage.

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