Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A new (to me) type of hybrid: print + painted

I'm playing with a technique new to me:
  1. work on the computer with an available image, lock down subject and composition
  2. print the image on fabric
  3. paint over the print
It's analogous to middle-class pottery decoration in the 19th Century, when potteries used mass-produced decals for the primary pattern on a piece. Then, skilled artisans would 'touch' the decal with hand-painted details. The result was a product that was affordable, yet (in part) still wholly original.

I've figured a way to feed my own fabric through my injet printer by laminating the "canvas" to a carrier piece of paper. I then mount it -- right now, on foamboard, but soon, on matboard, the heavy, stiff cardboard used by frame shops.

After using a clear sealer, I then pick up my brushes and oil paints and...

... give myself some practice in brush handling and color mixing
... give customers a (kinda) original oil painting for much less than a wholly original work.

An example

Here's a screen shot of the example image, a photograph with a Creative Commons release from the photographer glasseyes on I was primarily attracted to the banding of sunlight and shadow.

Note that there's a planter with ornamental grasses between the two small trees; and there is no sky showing; and there is a potentially distracting highlighted large tree canopy at the upper left.

Here's the image as printed by inkjet. Colors are subdued because I am using plain fabric -- that is, not fabric that has been prepared for inkjet printing, with brighteners and other chemical layers.

Here's a first hybrid print + painting -- this one done by a bright brush. This type of brush terminates in a straight line. Note that I've added a sky, removed the grass planter, and simplified the woodsy background.

Here's a second hybrid, this one done with a filbert, a type of brush whose termination resembles a filbert nut -- rounded and flat. Here, a completely different sky - a range of hills in the far background - much different woodsy background.

The mauve bushes in the middle distance don't work (all they do is distract the eye), nor does the stark white on the tree trunks... I'll probably paint over these bits or just toss the thing.

A little more tweaking of this technique, a little more brush practice, and I'll be listing hybrids of this sort in my Etsy shop... meanwhile, any comments?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

When a one-on-one restaurant tour leads to a landscape oil

 6 x 4 in. (15 x 10 cm) original oil on hand-made canvas panel. Unframed. Available in my Etsy store

Next door to the Framingham, Massachusetts main post office, there's a restaurant, once a proud showcase in the IHOP chain, blue from chain smokers, a favorite stop for EMTs as the elderly clients regularly needed them. 

It then became an independent pancake house and grill, but never changed clientele. About a year ago, it closed and moved closer to dereliction -- a process that the independent management had begun by neglecting the physical plant.

Last Friday, walking back from the P.O., I went over to look in the windows. Somebody was renovating the place. Just then, a guy came out the front door -- at first I thought he was a workman, but it turned out to be the new owner. It's going to become a Mexican-Spanish restaurant.

He was exhausted, but urged me inside and began showing off his handiwork. There was nothing that he found to be usable inside that had not been adopted, re-purposed, spiffed, perfected. The solid wood wainscoting he had sanded (hundreds of feet of it) and set gleaming with new varnish in a mirror finish. 

The granite buffet top was now his desktop in a tiny office, where his original drawing for the menu cover was drying on the wall. The rotting carpt was gone, the cement underlay acid-cleaned, an array of Mexican tiles in place, awaiting imminent setting.

Out back, he pointed out a stack of wood pallets from new equipment for the kitchen - he was going to use them. For something. He didn't know what, yet. 

"Everybody here throws everything away," he said. "Where i come from, these would be anything from a couch to a porch to a house."

I asked where he was from originally. "Mexico."

Where? I asked. "Jalisco. You probably know Guadalajara - it's in Jalisco. I'm from the countryside."

The restaurant is opening next March. I went home and hit Flickr for Jalisco. One photo popped out, and it was available under Creative Commons. The photo by Wonderlane, intrigued me by its exotic colors - the river, the sky. And the exotic skyline... exotic to those of us around Boston, where skies are Canadian blue and rivers are granite-gray or sky-blue, and mountains don't shoot up vertcally and skim off their tops.

Wonderlane has a blog (much better than mine) here.