• 2021-06-12 - Chiaroscuro in the garage

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Logs > Art Log

A few years ago some close friends and I used to work-out in the mornings in a garage. The garage was part of the lease of one of these lovely fellas, and we would convene at 6:30 in the morning to use a shared squat rack and some other work out equipment. We would run to this makeshift gym, even in the dead of winter, often slip-sliding our way there.

Sometimes, in the mornings we would be there before our pal who had access to the garage could open it (he slept in once or twice, bless his heart). On these occasions I would climb the roof of the garage by way of a telephone pole with a series of rungs in it, hop down into the back yard, and let ourselves in. What good memories!

On more than one occasion we took a few photos using a film camera. There are a couple good action poses (staged and not staged). The garage had a very eerie, strange light to it. Green-Yellow-ish.

Anyway, I was going through some archives of photos and found one I wanted to paint. Here's how it came out:

It was quite difficult to try and capture both the gradient of light to dark, the colours of the walls, and the amount of shadow and light on the subjects (especially the hair). It really was a challenging exercise in many ways. This was also the first painting I've worked on that took three sittings to do, probably on average of 50 minutes each.

As usual, (and I'm glad for it) - looking back on a photo of the painting, I'm not quite as impressed with it as when I finished it. I am definitely getting better, but I'm also picking more difficult subjects - and so it can be hard to see the progress.

While I want to stay positive about progress, there's a few things here I note that I will want to work on going forward:

  • Getting the anatomy just a bit more correct before starting painting (in pencil.)

  • Being patient with minute brush strokes (the brick details are a bit rushed and random)

  • Generally - pace myself more. I could have fit in more details in the bottom left. I left it out because I was lazy and just filled in black for the corner (probably knowing well at the time that I wouldn't want to attempt to paint over it, despite using acryla-gouache.)

  • On my last day I did the right side of the painting and because I was ready to be done, I rushed. The colour mixing could have been better and the black metals bars connecting the yellow rack could have been more steady and deliberate.

On the other hand, things I'm noticing that I'm pleased with:

  • My lines are going in the right direction (ha).

  • My anatomy isn't horrible. I messed up the middle lad, though, his shoulder is too wide.

  • I think I was able to identify the distinguished the chiaroscuro dark/lights - I was much more conscientous about how it made the photo unique and stand out to me. While I couldn't capture it as I liked, I am delighted at what I was able to do.

    That's it for now. I'll try and paint some more in the coming week.

I suppose another thing worth mentioning is that I'm almost done "Drawing Lessons from the Great Masters". The anatomy chapter was cool - I do want to learn anatomy more than I did before, but I don't think the time is now for it. I love how the author points out that every master in the book was able to draw a figure from their imagination in any position. That's definitely an incredible goal that I would love to acheive some day, but I'm not going to rush toward that in the present.