Peppermint Butler oil painting (work-in-progress)

I love this little guy from Adventure Time so I’m doing an oil painting. It will go in a crazy ornate baroque picture frame that I have had sitting around for ages. This is supposed to evoke Sir Thomas Lawrence or  Sir Joshua Reynolds, an old royal/military portrait that would hang in an English country estate.

Here it is after a few sessions, still have a while to go. Mostly deciding what to do as I go along, without much planning.

 

Peppermint Butler WIP

Peppermint Butler WIP

 

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Europe trip and new Hand of Glory project

I’ve been getting more productive art-wise again after an extended break. I went to Europe recently and saw a ton of amazing art in Spain, England, and France, so that inspired me. I visited the Prado in Madrid for the first time and saw some incredible stuff, including an important self-portrait by personal favorite Albrecht Dürer. I also saw some gorgeous paintings by Anton Raphael Mengs, with whom I was previously unfamiliar.

Another source of inspiration: while visiting Montmartre Cemetery in Paris, I came across Jean-Baptiste Greuze’s tomb. I love his art and did a study of The White Hat, so I feel something of a connection with his work.

I’m currently wrapping up another project that I’ve been working on for a couple years, and will post more about that later.

My next painting will be a dark realistic oil painting of a Hand of Glory. It will have tattooed symbols on it, inspired by some old alchemist illustrations/diagrams, and will be painted on wood panel in monochrome, subsequently glazed over sparingly with skin tone. I think it’s going to be a fairly simple project…I wanted to do something straightforward to return to painting. My last project was a bit too ambitious and complicated, so I ended up struggling and letting it sit for long periods of time. This new one should be much simpler but still interesting and will nicely complement my Memento Mori skull painting.

I’m not sure when I first encountered references to a Hand of Glory but I remember it from the original Wicker Man film and from the old game “Thief: The Dark Project”. There’s also a great song by the band Witch called Hand of Glory that may have inspired me to pick this subject. On a side note, I want to mention that the Thief game series has really amazing art and atmosphere…the first three games have inspired various projects of mine including stained glass and a song.

Hand reference photo

Hand reference photo

For this Hand of Glory project, I took some moody low-key photos of my hand a few months ago, and used one as a reference to do a pencil sketch directly on wood panel. I revised it over a few days, looking at my own left hand while sketching to alter it. After I was satisfied, I went over the outline with fine sepia sharpie marker and then erased most of the pencil. I then mixed black and yellow acrylic paint into a thin wash and sealed in the drawing, making the brushstrokes in such a way that if they show through later intentionally they’ll add some interesting underlying texture to the painting.

Here’s my start to the project. This is 11×14 inches and the hand is somewhat larger-than-life:

Hand of Glory sketch on panel

Hand of Glory sketch on panel

 

Hand on panel with wash

Hand on panel with wash

 

 

 

 

 

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Hand of Glory (digital)

Yes, a digital hand, with 5 digits. I did this a while ago for a contest, it’s a skateboard deck design. I made it in Photoshop.

 

Eye in Hand of Glory

Eye in Hand of Glory

 

I wanted to post it now because:

a.) I think it’s cool

b.) My next project may focus on a similar subject, but in a low-key, darkly rendered oil painting on wood panel.

 

 

 

 

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Workin on this painting again

Yup, I took something like a year-long break from this piece but have been working on it again.

This is a detail view of the painting. It’s oil on canvas.

 

Work in prog

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The Ghost Girl of Willowglen Manor

I finished this project, “The Ghost Girl of Willowglen Manor”.

I started to get a little crazy in the foreground but painted over some of the weird ice-landscape I had made – I’ll save that for another painting. I really love unplanned weird plant life and strange rocks and stuff…the other project I am working on now has a lot of that too.

This is oil on canvas board, 14×18 inches:

 

The Ghost Girl of Willowglen Manor

The Ghost Girl of Willowglen Manor

 

This was a relatively quick and simple painting compared to my other works. I didn’t keep track of the hours like I normally do so I’m really not sure how long I spent on it, but probably 8  to 12 hours over about 3 months.

Here’s the previous post about this painting: Ghost Girl work in progress

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Ghost Girl work in prog

Although I haven’t posted in a while, I have indeed been doing stuffs…here’s one of the projects I’m workin’ on.

Not sure what this one will be called but for now I’m calling it Ghost Girl. I started it at a party a few weeks ago where I was doing some live painting.

Ghost Girl WIP 12-12-12

Ghost Girl WIP 12-12-12

 

I normally keep a lot of notes on my projects but on this one since it’s supposed to be quick I’m not doing so…therefore I’m not sure how long I’ve been working on it exactly but it’s something like 4 hours. I plan to finish it in another couple sessions. It’s 14×18 inches, oil on canvas board.

This is more colorful than much of my previous work…the greens are Cadmium Yellow Pale Hue mixed with combinations of Mars Black, French Ultramarine, and Cobalt Blue. I wanted the landscape greens to be more drab so they are black and yellow whereas the face is using more of the blue and yellow. Other colors I’ve been using are Phthalo Blue, Yellow Ochre, Raw Umber, Cadmium Red Hue, and Titanium White.

Update: I finished this and realized it’s obviously called The Ghost Girl of Willowglen Manor. Here’s the finished version.

 

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A Country Girl Near the Dream City (revised – 2012)

I’ve been taking some previously completed paintings that I wasn’t happy with and making some changes to them when I thought that spending the time would be worth it. I recently made some big but fairly quick changes to “A Country Girl Near the Dream City”:

A Country Girl near the Dream City (2012)

A Country Girl near the Dream City (2012)

The way I see it, if I have something that I am almost happy with, it’s worth the risk of making it worse and it’s worth the extra time (let’s say an additional 15%) to try and make it better. I have been forcing myself to just focus on the key aspects that will improve the painting the most and have been pretty good about not letting myself start changing too much. I also ensure that I have a good plan of attack and have done studies so that I know how exactly to alter the painting once I get started. In this case I had been thinking about changes since last year, and did some tests in Photoshop to make sure that if I did alter stuff that it would look the way I wanted, rather than just employing trial and error which could end in frustration and an at least temporarily ruined painting.

This one went smoothly and I’m really glad that I took the extra couple hours so that now I have a painting I am much happier about.

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A Chaotic Nocturnal Reverie altered and completed

I decided to make some major changes to this painting. I messed with the face a bit more but decided I wouldn’t be happy even if the face was OK since the figure etc were too flawed.I debated this for a while but decided to just paint over the figure completely. I had spent a HUGE amount of time changing the face and figure but painting over it is not going to take away the stuff I learned working on this project – and now I will have a painting I can be happier with.

Here is the full painting:

A Chaotic Nocturnal Reverie

"A Chaotic Nocturnal Reverie" by Airn LeBus, 16x20 inches, oil on canvas, 2012.

Here is a detail view:

A Chaotic Nocturnal Reverie (detail)

A Chaotic Nocturnal Reverie (detail)

My previous posts on this have a lot more info:

Final post on the earlier version

 

 

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Memento Mori MMXII – completed

OK, I have completed my Memento Mori painting.

I’m pretty satisfied with this but towards the end I just wanted to wrap it up and work on other projects! I started this in October 2011 so I’ve been working on it for seven months, off and on.

Here’s the finished painting:

Memento Mori MMXII

Memento Mori MMXII

I spent about 21 hours painting this, in many separate sessions. I also spent about 4 hours drawing / planning it and then another couple hours making the maquette model to figure out the lighting and doing additional studies with a skull model etc. I talk more about that in previous posts (below).

Here’s a detail view:

Memento Mori MMXII (detail)

Memento Mori MMXII (detail)

I think that “Memento Mori” will be a running theme for me for at least my next few projects…I usually work on a few paintings at once so right now I am planning my next one while I also redo some parts of my tragically flawed A Chaotic Nocturnal Reverie painting.

Happily I am also going right from finishing this onto another oil on wood panel project, the Robert Campin study I am working on. I really love painting something with an archaic feel onto smooth wood panel whilst listening to some Medieval music…quite lovely.

Here are my other posts on this painting:

1. Memento Mori: work-in-progress

2. Memento Mori: update 2

3. Memento-Mori: update 3

 

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Master Study – Robert Campin

I decided that I need to do more studying with the old masters…to start I am going to try painting one by Robert Campin:

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ARCampin.jpg (link opens in a new window)

I have a nice hi-resolution picture of the original painting, which I cropped so I can just focus on the face. I especially love the way he did the eyes.

I’m painting this on 8×10 wood panel in oils and will use a monochromatic “dead layer” underpainting to start. I will then glaze color over it and do additional work on the shadows and highlights at that point too.

This is after 1 hour of painting and a few hours of drawing:

 

Robert Campin study WIP 05-20-2012

Robert Campin study WIP 05-20-2012

I sketched this freehand on the panel but divided the panel into 4 sections, then did the same to my photo to give me a little assistance in making it more accurate to the original.

This underpainting is all in raw umber and titanium white…I did my usual method before that of going over the drawing in sepia Sharpie pen then putting an imprimatura wash of yellow and black mixed acrylic over the drawing. This time I also used an eraser to get rid of most of the pencil before putting the acrylic on.

Here’s what it looked like drawn on the panel and then inked with the imprimatura, almost ready to start painting:

Robert Campin study drawing and imprimatura

Robert Campin study drawing and imprimatura

 

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