Brother Cadfael (Sir Derek Jacobi) – work in progress 2

I think I’m almost done with this one. I have been glazing and painting direct color over the raw umber dead layer underpainting. Here’s a detail shot of it:

Brother Cadfael WIP 2

Brother Cadfael WIP 2

This is oil on wood panel, 8×10 inches.

Here’s the earlier version: Brother Cadfael work in progress 1

The 4th of July is also the birthday of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland!

Neat! According to Wikipedia:

July 4, 1862 – In a rowing boat travelling on the River Thames from Oxford to Godstow, author Lewis Carroll told Alice Liddell and her sisters a story that would eventually form the basis for his book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Happy birthday, Wonderland! :)

Alice’s Picnic in Wonderland painting completed

(Update 01-04-10: I changed this painting, and switched the pictures here to the new version. See the Alice in Wonderland category for posts about the changes.)

I finished my Alice in Wonderland painting. It’s called Alice’s Picnic in Wonderland and is 11×14 inches, oil on canvas. This will be at the Alice in Wonkaland show at Muddy Waters in Santa Barbara in July.

Here’s the finished painting:

Alice's Picnic in Wonderland

Alice's Picnic in Wonderland

I made extra sure I was happy with the drawing before transferring it to the canvas, so once I started painting it went very smoothly. Almost every painting session was very good and the whole thing overall was very satisfying. The hedge maze took a lot of time to draw, but once it had been planned out it was pretty simple to paint. If you look close you can see she is wearing a little scarab cameo…I felt the need to put something Egyptian in there. I like the contrast of the grinning Cheshire cat (which is totally based on John Tenniel’s famous illustrations) with Alice’s somber expression. I wanted this to be a little dark without doing the whole overdone Gothic Alice thing (which I am waaay sick of).

Here’s a detail view:

Alice's Picnic in Wonderland (detail)

Alice's Picnic in Wonderland (detail)

The main thing I would have done differently is use a good reference for the face, which wasn’t  based on anyone specific. The face is small, like an inch high, so tiny brushstrokes yielded big changes…it was pretty tough. Since it’s on canvas the texture also makes the painting look a little different depending on what angle you look at it, etc, so there was a ton of stepping back, looking in other light, upside down, and the like. Well, I do a lot of that normally anyway. I did use an old vintage photo for the general figure reference but changed the dress, face, head shape, hair, etc. I didn’t use a grid or anything, I have been doing a grid when I am studying a master work and trying to copy it almost exactly but whenever possible I’m working on my drawing skillz without a grid.

My palette for this was something along the lines of mars black, titanium white, yellow ochre, cadmium yellow light hue, vermillion hue, burnt umber, raw umber, burnt sienna, french ultramarine, and phthalo blue. The greens are mostly black + cadmium yellow light with some earth tones and yellow ochre. These are all pretty much the standard colors I use lately, except I am going to switch to cadmium red hue since it looks very similar to the vermillion but does not contain lead. I use that in the flesh tones: yellow ochre + red + white + burnt umber in darker areas. I hear that using a complementary color in the shadows is supposed to be nice but so far it hasn’t worked out too well for me  :)

This painting was pretty much “direct”…I did not do a monochromatic underpainting for the flesh tones, like I normally do when painting on panel for portrait stuff (this is on canvas).

I spent about 6 hours over 2 weeks drawing this, and then about 16 hours painting it. That is about half the time my last two paintings took, this was a quick one since everything just fell into place, mostly. I started it in early May and finished in late June.

For other posts about Alice and my other Wonderland-related paintings, see the Alice in Wonderland category.

Alice Pleasance Liddell miniature portrait painting

I’m including this miniature painting in the Alice in Wonkaland show. Alice Liddell was the real life inspiration for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. This is based on a photo by Charles Dodgson aka Lewis Carroll. It’s 2 x 2.75 inches, acrylic on wood panel, 2009. I put it in a little frame and painted on it “Alice Pleasance Liddell 1852-1934″.

Miniature painting of Alice Pleasance Liddell by Airn LeBus, aft

Miniature painting of Alice Pleasance Liddell by Airn LeBus

See the Alice in Wonderland category for my other related stuff including a larger picnic scene with another Alice.

This is my first acrylic painting in more than a year, I normally paint with oils but I had limited time on this one since it was for a show and I used up all my time in the first attempt, which was oil. I abandoned that first attempt and redid the whole thing. This acrylic one took about 4-6 hours over about a week, in maybe 5 sessions. It’s the smallest painting I have tried and it was really fun! To give idea of size, one eye is about the size of half a rice grain. I will be doing some additional miniatures in the next few months, probably in oil though.

I did seven small drawings of this same thing, but really the second drawing was the best-looking, although kind of cartoony:

liddell-try-2

Alice Liddell drawing

I used a different drawing for the first version of the painting. I might post that painting later since I am changing it. I spent a TON of time on that first painting, which was in oil, and kept having problems with features being misaligned, etc etc etc. I kept making big changes to it and I think it was mostly because the original sketch (again, not shown here) was not correct. I redrew the whole thing a few times until I thought it was right and used that for the basis of the acrylic painting above.

If you want to learn more about Alice Liddell, Charles Dodgson, and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, I would really recommend a cool book which I just discovered called The Other Alice. I bought it used on Amazon but it seems readily available wherever. It’s kind of both a kid’s and adult’s book and is chock full of illustrations.

Alice in Wonkaland show in July at Muddy Waters

I think they start hanging stuff July 2nd. I have my two Alice paintings in this one (Alice Liddell miniature and Alice’s Picnic in Wonderland).

Here are the details:

“An art show inspired by Alice in Wonderland and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Art by: Randy Lane, Von Munster, Traci ‘Spooky’ Lane, Nicolas Caesar, Temple Terkildsen, Cinder, Gus Fink, The Creep, MAS Design, Frankie Babylon, Airn LeBus, Norma Soluet, Tamara Wade, Krissi Sandvik, Frankie Teardrop, Bax Turbine, Just Sam, Lupe Posada and many, many more talented artists!”.

The reception is on Saturday, July 18th at 7PM at Muddy Waters Cafe, 508 E. Haley Street, Santa Barbara, California.

Oh and there is FREE CANDY (:D)

To see the paintings I will have there, look at my Alice in Wonderland category.