Friday, August 14, 2009

Picture a Day - Day 254

Thanks to my magical tools I've been mysticizing you all with my amazing wedding dress painting ability (hey, I can hear you snickering in the back. It isn't THAT funny) for the past four months or so. I'm thinking it's time I finally pull back the curtain and show off the machine behind the man, er I mean the canvas behind the woman.

When I first get a painting request I spend a few minutes going over the pictures the client sends me (client, he he he. I sound so professional). And if they actually followed my directions asking for a huge picture with lots of detail then I'm ready to move on, but 9 times out of 10 begins a hunt and peck through the internet as I try to find a catalog picture of the dress (you'd be amazed how often I'll get sent pictures of a dress that includes say just the bodice back or they cut off the bottom half of the dress.)

Once I've got THE PICTURE I crop it and mess around with contrast to really bring out the shadows and print that sucker out:Then Mrs. Picture and I move to my painting table, crack open some fresh canvas and get to work:Here comes the magical part. I wave my hands about using my magic wand (a #2 pencil) and in a half hour a dress sketch appears:I also use a pen to help outline the dress and any major folds to help it really breakthrough the various paint layers. You'll see what I mean eventually. In the mean time just ooh and ahh over a line drawing that I still can't believe people will charge $60 for.

Once the ink has dried and I'm done updating the status of my weird toasted rice tea on twitter (it's like someone took some packing peanuts and steeped them in hot water), time for the hardest part of my dress making. Using various shades of gray and a little water I fill in the shadows of the dress. It's like an iSpy sometimes, as I shift and move the original pictures this way and that trying to discern just what is causing what shadow and where a fold of the dress vanished too:While it depends on the dress a lot, the shadowing usually takes anywhere from an hour to three. Looks pretty dingy and dark right? Like a dress after a Drag the Bride Through the Mud photo session. Don't worry, there's still one more step.

After letting the shadows dry (and making sure facebook knows all about my toasted rice tea conundrum), I do by far the easiest part of my dress painting, take my largest brush and paint a thin layer of white over all the shadows (forgive the crappy picture, I'd lost just about all light by this point last night):Ta da, a wedding dress. Okay so it still needs a few lines filled in better, detail added and a background color but I always like to give that another day so I approach the painting with a fresh set of eyeballs (kinda like editing but with a lot less red).

Any questions? Requests? I have a bag just full of body organs waiting for someone since the last group wanted something a bit more cerebral.

No? Well if you think of any just forward them to The Emerald Isle. I've got a hot air balloon to catch.


Linda said...

I love the look behind the art :)

Jennifer said...

I always wondered how you did it! (is that a Maggie Sotero dress in the pictures?)

Krista said...

My favourite part: the magic wand!

I will be "commissioning" two paintings from "the artist" (being YOU) ... but I can't have them before October 2nd. So look for my request on etsy in a couple more weeks! :)

(My name on etsy is kristatee, if that helps for the head's up!)