What I'm working on, 2: shadows

Which sounds like I'm being a bitch, I suppose, so let me explain: There's always one person in a class or workshop who is utterly convinced that if they only used the right tubes of paint, then they, too, would be Sorolla or Rembrandt.... They will spend the entire time looking at the instructor's palette, or asking what colors they're using to get an effect, and not ask anything else.

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What I'm working on

Finally had a chance to paint today, as opposed to all the Not Painting/Not Drawing/Not Writing I've been doing lately.

Had lunch with an old friend today, and as I was explaining that I hadn't done much painting lately (read: none), I thought, 'Okay, this is lame. I'm being lame. I need to just get something on canvas.' It is amazing how just one look of mild reproach from a friend can be the spur I need. Thanks, E.

This is an underpainting I just did, from a sketch I did a couple of weeks ago. Once it dries, I'll start laying down color on top of it. I wish titanium white dried faster, though --even in this heat, it still takes somewhere short of eternity to dry. Hopefully by tomorrow night, I can start glazing.

My study of Caravaggio's Sick Bacchus stares balefully at me from the wall it's leaning against. Sigh. Maybe I'll work on that while this is drying. Or maybe I'll varnish dried paintings.

Or find some new way to procrastinate, like doing work for the day job. There's certainly plenty of that...

What I'm working on

comic-con, or friends and zombies

Not to mention hard on one's ego, when you usually can paint like this: IMG_4759_0048A.jpg But the painting of friends-as-pimp&ho-zombies was tragically overdue, so it had to be done. zombiewilanne.jpg The artists drew and painted so much, that the booth couldn't hold them all, so they had to go upstairs for their panel.

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As regular readers of my blog have guessed by the sudden decline in posts, it's that wonderful time of year known as Nerd Prom, aka San Diego Comic-Con.

Every year, I battle through a massive anxiety attack to get my work together enough to show and get feedback on. This year's anxiety is compounded by the stress of having had my day job at Saltmine U. be in peril. I have less staff, and slightly more work than I did last year. I've been so busy spending the last few months proving I was useful, that all my spare time (such as it is) was spoken for. That doesn't leave much for doing illustrations. Being an art director has had to be my primary focus; being a student came second; and any socializing, either online or in person, was rare. I worked Faire to fulfill a commitment I'd made to help two good friends, and while I don't regret it, it meant I spent two months with no days off at all.

Not surprisingly, my immune system pitched an armed revolt a month ago, and I succumbed to the plague that's been sweeping the West Side. Only in the last two weeks have I been able to get through an hour without coughing, or had anything resembling energy.

Which is all to say: I'm not as prepared as I'd prefer to be for the major industry event of the year. I've done a lot of good work, and I'm proud of it. I just wish I were further along with my current projects, so that I could show them. But hey, I'll bring them down to Comic-Con!

This year will be my very first as an exhibitor, and I'm beyond thrilled to have this chance. I'm going to be with the studio I'm at every Saturday: Studio 2nd Street. We're booth #5361. I'll be doing painting demos in the booth all four days, and will also be part of this panel:

Thursday, July 23
4:30-5:30 Drawing Upon Reference— Ron Lemen (ImagineFX magazine) and Studio 2nd Street Group will cover the subject of photo reference and how to use it when you have to use it. This lecture will briefly cover the do's and dont's of copying photos for your illustration work and some basic guidelines for drawing an effective image. Room 30CDE

Yeah, guess who's going to be showing you all how not to use photo reference.

As if that weren't enough, I'll also be modeling corsets for Alter Ego while I'm there. Hopefully that will generate a lot of business for Alter Ego. It'll be a challenge to not get upstaged by the corsets, but I think I can manage.

If you're going to be at Comic-Con, please come by and say hello!

Yesterday's painting

Yesterday, Sabrina came to pose; here's the finished underpainting. I had a tiny canvas panel of natural linen I'd been saving for a figure pose, and the pose she took was perfect. The 6x11 panel is being cropped, I suspect, by Typepad's iPhone client -- her feet are actually on the canvas. I was getting worried for a while, as my initial drawing was beating me up and taking my lunch money. Instead of having something decent laid in after the first sitting, I was still wrestling with the charcoal drawing after an hour. My heavy-handedness gets really problematic when using soft charcoal in a small space: a 1/16" line is fine on a large canvas, but on a small one, it gets ugly fast, as proportions get thrown off by a line that's no longer a line, but is becoming a plane, with a volume of its own.

I think I got there in the end, though. Next week, I'll glaze color over this and build up the lighter areas so that they've got volume.

In other news, I have work, and plenty of it. I'd love to have both money and time to take a vacation, but it's going to be a while before I have enough of either. Right now, though, I need coffee, and some lunch. Yesterday's painting