Cracky-Chan painting completed

I finally finished my Cracky Chan oil painting after many moons had waxed and waned and after countless revisions. Many times I thought I was done but decided to make changes, sometimes major. Most recently I debated for a couple weeks over whether I wanted to make major changes again or not…I had mostly decided to revise it yet again, but then today I realized that I have been spending my time thinking about this painting and forgot all about Dream City #1 which I am close to finishing as well…I realized that I have many other paintings I want to complete (and start) and this Cracky painting is as good as it’s going to be without totally altering some stuff and taking huge steps back…I would rather start new paintings instead.

Cracky-Chan painting, oil on panel, 8x10 inches, 2008

Cracky-Chan, oil on panel, 8x10 inches, 2008

I’m pretty happy with this painting when I look at it in real life, however when I look at these photos of it, it’s much easier to see some of the overall issues that aren’t as apparent when you are only a couple feet away from it. When it’s condensed way down it looks different, it’s also darker in real life then what you see in the picture…anyway it looks better in real life, I swear 🙂

a bit larger than life-size detail

a bit larger than life-size detail

I have learned many strange and wonderous things whilst on this dark and disturbing journey…mostly that it sucks to try to paint something in this semi-realisitic style without planning everything out properly beforehand and when you are a beginner 🙂 I also didn’t step back enough and notice overall issues but was focusing too much on details and textures and such. Although I think the main problem here is that I didn’t plan it out beforehand well enough, many of the issues I encountered couldn’t really be avoided without having more experience…this was a learning process, that was one of the main points of this painting. I worked on this for so long too that it’s like some of my skill improved and left this painting behind…I mean I was working on, and finished, many paintings while this was still being worked on concurrently, so I would return to this and notice things that I could do better now, but it’s sort of too late now on this one…I have completely sanded out and painted over eyes, moved one, repainted it, sanded it down again, totally changed the necklace 3 times, the hair took many wildly different tries, etc etc etc…time to wrap up Ms. Cracky-Chan, varnish it, and finally be done. Oh that’s another thing too, after spending crazy amounts of time on something I wanted to make sure I was as happy as possible with the painting, it’s a fine line between excessive amounts of time and ensuring that you have given it your best try and not given up or been lazy at the end after all that time and effort. I ended up feeling kind of unhappy with the end result, but mostly just when I look at these computer images of it, when it’s on the wall in my house I’m fairly satisfied.

I had a bunch of problems towards the end trying to make small changes to the dry painting, where it looked OK until the changes dried and then they didn’t match the surrounding areas. I “oiled out” the painting by rubbing linseed oil into it before one of these final changes and although it seemed to help the new paint blend in to the dry parts, when it dried sometimes it was more screwed up looking than before I made the corrections 🙂

Colors used and notes (titanium white used in pretty much every section as well) :

Background: initially a chromatic black mixture of raw umber and some kind of blue (french ultramarine?), later ivory or lamp black with alizarin crimson and some white / raw umber or if I had skin tone mixed up I put some of that into the background so it was not a solid black.

Skin tone: raw umber / perm alizarin crimson. I didn’t use any yellow in this mix partly to fit with the style of the ref photo which was very red and also so it wasn’t too difficult to re-mix the same shades later, my paint dries out pretty much overnight so each session I usually have to re-mix the colors…I keep notes and such to help with this. For the red nose and such I used vermilion and a cadmium red along with alizarin crimson.

Necklace: raw and burnt umber, yellow ochre. Jewels were alizarin crimson and cad yellow light.

Eyes: Changed a lot so not sure but I think cobalt and cerrulean.

Hair: It took me SO many tries to get the hair to where I am mostly happy with it. The latest layers are yellow ochre, burnt umber, indian red, raw umber, burnt sienna, maybe some cadmium yellow light (hue). The brushes were the most important part for this, I used a spayed out liner for much of the details and coarse bristle brushes…I also have this one weird small flat shader that works really well for hair ’cause it shows brushstrokes which become individual hairs.

Shirt thingy: burnt sienna, cad yellow light, raw umber, lamp black.

Cracky Chan update 7

OK OK I know 7 updates is a bit much but I want a better pic here so this is taken outside in better lighting and I fixed some stuff, Cracky Chan painting almost done booya zooomy zoom:

Cracky Chan work in progress 09-24-08

Cracky Chan work in progress 09-24-08

This painting has come a long way, if you saw my Cracky painting when I first started you might throw up and I would be embarrassed cuz it looked like garbage but I didn’t know it at the tyme. It still is pretty jacked up in some ways but when you see it in real life it looks rather sick with all the shiny reflections and gold and such so I still know that it is basically awesome and I’m bummed if I can’t get a better pic of it…will look better varnished though and in a fatty gilded gold frame. I say again…boo-ya, and I hope to post the final version in a week or so unless I freak out and change something again.

Cracky update #6 dang

Cracky painting is almost done? Think so…I ate 2 fresh-baked scones and drank two teas which fueled a good painting session today, I was bummed on this painting last week and have been doing mostly digital stuff lately although I have I think 4 oil paintings I will be finishing up soon…Cracky-Chan, Dream City #1, Priestess of Dagon, and one that I have not posted yet which is prolly called Tea and Almond Cookies 😀

Here’s wot cracky painting looks like right now, it does look better in real life I gotta say, when it’s hanging in a museum later I will let you know which one so you can go look at it:

Cracky-chan painting work in progress 08-30-08

Cracky-chan painting work in progress 08-30-08

Cracky-Chan update #5

Yet another update to the Cracky-Chan painting. I painted over the nose and made it bigger…necklace is new and near completion, so are the eyes, they are not done yet but I moved one (twice…took forever, I’m dumb) and repainted both of them. The hair and shirt-thing are pretty much done, so is the nose pretty much and the ears, the main stuff I need to do is finish the eyes, necklace, and some of the general face like forehead and eyebrows etc. If all goes as planned this will be the last update until I post the final painting.

Look at the cracky chan category for all similar posts.

Here’s Corky:

Cracky WIP 08-10-08

Cracky WIP 08-10-08

Whoa lookit that frame, damn (:O) dunno if I will put it in there, pic doesn’t really do it justice though, the painting is 8×10 inches so it’s crazy to see like 6 inches of frame on either side, and whole thing is about 4 inches deep and quite heavy…

cracky work in prog in big ol frame

cracky work in prog in big ol frame

Cracky-Chan painting update (cracky post #4)

I was sorely mistaken when I said many weeks ago that I was almost done with this painting 🙂 I decided to repaint the eyes…totally painted over them. I have also completely changed the shirt-dress thing, the necklace, and the hair, something like 2, 3, and I think 5 times respectively. If I had planned this out and knew what I was doing, I would be done 5 times over by now…but that’s cool, each project I work on is a huge learning experience, especially since I haven’t been painting very long. Soon I want to start a project that I actually plan out really well 🙂

Anyway, I need to decide on this how much I want to fix and how much just to leave, I am definitely spending an excessive amount of time on this small (8×10 inches) project…I keep taking breaks and working on other stuff though and the longer I spend on it the more I want it to be the best I can do 🙂

Made some major progress on the hair last nite, titanium white, yellow ochre, raw umber, and burnt sienna with a weird small flat shader that leaves brush marks and a really mangled 0 round brush that is all splayed out…it works really well for hair! The skin tone is all raw umber and alz. crimson and titanium white.

Look at the cracky chan category for all similar posts.

cracky chan painting work in progress 07-25-08

cracky chan painting work in progress 07-25-08

Oh I’m thinking about putting it in this insane frame I got (:B)

Oil painting happiness

Messing around with with this painting, I love what happened in the lower corner here (click for big version):

Later I painted over it cuz it didn’t really fit with the overall style of the painting, but I love how with oils you can do some crazy stuff with just a few strokes.

cracky-chan update (cracky post #3)

I worked on the ol’ cracky-chan painting today…getting pretty close to finishing it. A few more sessions and I’ll be done, I think. The hair has been one of the trickiest things for me to get on this one, but I think I am close to figuring it out. I’m not trying to mimic the photo reference completely, instead I’m making the hair a bit less mussy to fit the style of the painting. I bought some indian red and burnt sienna (I didn’t have that one?!) and that helped a lot. I’m still learning how to paint hair in general, and a large percentage of the time spent on this one has been on the hair. I’ve tried a ton of color combos but at this point it’s something like cad yellow light, titanium white, burnt and raw umber, burnt sienna, and indian red. Oh I also experimented with some lamp black in the shadow areas, though I very rarely use black for shadows.

So here’s where I’m at on ol’ cracky…need to touch up the nose, finish the hair, do a bit more stuff with eyes, etc, but I think it’ll look pretty sick when done and once it’s framed and such…varnishing it will unify everything too and kind of deepen everything.

Look at the cracky chan category for all cracky posts.

Detail of Cracky-Chan work in progress

Detail of Cracky-Chan work in progress

More cracky-chan work in progress (cracky post #2)

Boy, I don’t normally paint more than a few hours in a day but I think I spent about 6 hours on this one today. There was a lot of stuff I wanted to do while it was still wet, and since I don’t usually add oil to my paint and it’s pretty thinly applied, if I wait until tomorrow it will mostly be dry. I also have all the colors mixed the right way and I don’t want them all to dry up on the palette either. I think it’s a common misconception (from ppl I have spoken with that don’t use oils) that oil paints always take weeks or months to dry — if they are thinly applied they are often dry to the touch in a day or so, or if you add turpentine it can be minutes. I don’t add turps that often though unless I am doing stuff with the liner brush like signing a painting or eyelashes etc…it feels kinda lame with turps, no longer buttery and nice 🙂

Anyway I spent 6-7 hours on this chick today, trying to wrap up this painting and move on to some other projects I am excited about. I think this will be done in a few days. This has been really tough, although I have a low-res photo reference it’s pretty useless for a lot of parts, and I have changed a lot anyway so I can’t use it much of the time. The lighting is tough for a beginner like me, and the added red nose and such have made this quite difficult. Next time I attempt a painting with lighting I am not used to, I am going to make sure I have a good reference photo…it’s been a bit silly trying to figure out what the heck to do here. I’ll still really happy with it so far though.

Look at the cracky chan category for all similar posts or look in the gallery for all cracky painting images (link below).

It’s hard to get a good pic of this at night, but this is fairly close to what it looks like in real life. This is 8×10 inches, oil on panel.

cracky early version 05-26-08

cracky early version 05-26-08

Cracky-chan work in progress

To see all posts on this painting look at the cracky chan category.

The girl in the photo below is referred to as Cracky-Chan…she’s a kind of internet meme that was/is famous/infamous on various imageboards and such, particularly on an imageboard called 4chan. I thought she would be great to paint, what with the red nose and ears and expression and such, and I like the idea of taking people you would not expect to see on someone’s wall and putting them in a “serious” oil painting…I want to paint people like Darby Crash, Edmund Blackadder, etc, in a kind of old-school way that looks like a painting that would hang in an old castle or creepy mansion. I’m constantly watching these British shows set in crazy manor houses and they always have amazing dark portraits all over the walls…I love that. I want my house to be filled with crazy oil portraits glaring and staring down from the peeling wallpaper.

Anyway…this has been a tough one but I’m learning a ton! I think noses are hard to paint normally, and this one is all red and complicated, and the reference photo I used is all crappy and small and hard to see wtf is going on.

I wanted this to look kinda old school, and did a lot of looking at it with blurred eyes and such as I painted it to get the overall lighting and tone down correctly. I’ve taken a bunch of artistic liberties, partly to match the feel I want and partly cuz I can’t see wtf is going on in the photo. I saw some other pictures of the chick and she has blue eyes, at first I painted them brown based on the ref photo!

The necklace was inpired by stuff from the incredible Ghent Altarpiece, one of my favorite paintings. I hope to see it this Fall on a trip to Europe.

The background is chromatic black, I mixed pretty much equal parts french ultramarine and raw umber, with a smidge of titanium white. The reds are cad red light, alz crimson, maybe some vermillion, and the shadows are raw umber with some alz crimson. I had never painted gold before, I looked a lot at the Ghent stuff, I used tit. white, yellow ochre, raw and burnt umber. I tried to use some golden present-type bows and ribbons to figure out what it should look like but it didn’t help much. I read something elsewhere online about feeling the weight and coldness of the metal as you painted, I thought that was cool. Another tip I read was that metal should have a hard edge or the brain does not interpret it as such…makes sense!

Ignore the hair…I’m gonna fix that later. I want to finish the face first and then tackle that part, which I’m not sure how to handle yet. If you look at the reference photo you’ll see what I mean…painting the hair from that photo would be tough I think.

Here’s the photo of “cracky-chan” this was based on:


And here’s my work in progress (detail). There’s a lot of junk that needs to be cleaned up and such, needs some eyebrows, etc =), but overall I am very excited about it:

(Update: Eww I had to delete this old version of my painting, it looked too crappy to leave it up on the internets (:-B)