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Richard's Blog



  • My point was that you're more likely to encounter people in the English countryside than in Australia. In fact people in an Australian landscape may look out of place. That didn't sound right either. It's a matter of choice.
  • Yeah, we've got lots of room down here. Which is part of the reason why so many people want to come here. :)
  • edited October 2018
    Until I'm struck by inspiration for which one of my own photos or ones off friends to paint next I'm going to try another copy (in my own style as previously). This one will be a very different artist and also much more complicated. Probably the most complicated painting I've ever done, but a good time to try to stretch and improve I think.

    One issue is that I'm going to be painting at the maximum size I can on my painting board (20" x 16") whilst the original is 3x larger horizontally and 3x larger vertically (so 9 times bigger in terms of the area). It will be hard to do all the details, but I'll have a go!

    I don't have much space or a house big enough to do a bigger painting. :(

    My first attempt at this didn't work out quite so well as I hoped. I sanded a dibond panel with various grades to try to maximise adhesion (sanded more than the previous one). I traced over all the parts of the image onto the graphite paper (which took a while), and then found to my dismay that large areas hadn't transferred properly and most were faint. This was despite pressing very hard with the pen. After more tests it seems that an oversanded surface can stop the graphite transferring.

    So.. I've lightly sanded a second panel and have started the transfer again, this time with a lot of partial lifting up and checking the transfer. I'm also using blue carbon paper (Prussian blue - fact fans) which seems to transfer easier than graphite (not as well as carbon black paper though), but is a bit darker in value. It's going OK this time.

    We will see how that goes!
  • Sounds good, @Richard_P.

    Can you tell us which painting you'll be copying?  Maybe others could have a go at it, too. :)
  • Sorry Rob, I am going to see who guesses first when I post progress shots.. 
  • It's John Wayne. You're copying from a movie poster judging by the size? He's been gone 40 years and I'm glad somebody is bringing him back. "The most popular film actor of the 20th century, John Wayne, is once again in the top five on The Harris Poll's annual list of "America's Favorite Movie Stars," this year landing the fourth spot. More than 38 years after his death, Wayne is the only late actor in the top 10 and has never fallen out in over two decades".
  • Clint Eastwood, did you say?
  • Ok, the tracing of the median filtered image is done. I found the blue lines to bleed slightly when brushed. So I sprayed it with fixative before applying the gesso (which ironically made it bleed very slightly too). Then two layers of gesso, one horizontal and one vertical. Now to leave to completely dry for 3 days.

    I don't think I'll use the blue carbon paper again, the graphite one is easier, just need to make sure it transfers properly. Perhaps more experimentation needed whilst the gesso is drying on what works and what doesn't for the transfer.
  • Richard_P said:
    Sorry Rob, I am going to see who guesses first when I post progress shots.. 

    Will there be prizes?  :p 
  • Yes. You can win a caterpillar eating one of Bob's hats.. :)
  • That's alright, I've got caterpillars in the back yard making a silk hat for me. I once had a hat that did meet it's demise in just that way though. It was woven out of fresh palm fronds and never smoked to repel pests.
  • Over time I've developed the computer programme I wrote which I use to help me look at the photos I work from, and help paint them. Some parts have been added and removed, or no longer really used. Some parts are more experimental, and some parts are very useful. It might be getting a tad complex now though..

  • I for one can vouch how the above helped me a huge amount, and still does to this day -you should seek a patent and sell it @Richard_P
  • edited October 2018
    I agree with @alsart. The results you achieve are amazing and your invention, properly marketed, could turn out to be a little money spinner. What sort of GUI does it have, Richard? I mean, could anyone use it or would that require further development?
    Wish I could code. :)
  • What happened to the good ol' color checker?
  • Thanks all, it's very basic as it's only for me. I'm not going to try to sell it or anything like that. :)
  • I've had a busy weekend but managed to do some prep work.. Unfortunately I miscalculated the size of the painting board I use (due to a few millimetres of the slider mechanism getting in the way) for when I ordered the dibond panels. Not that bad though, I will use the maul stick I made for this one.

    Had a bit of a headache today but mixed 6 colours for the first step. I always struggle to start a painting, it seems a lot of work and then I got all the normal self-doubts that come along with the artist's curse.

    Hopefully will be able to start painting soon, will see how much free time I get..
  • Hang in there @Richard_P.  I envy people who seem to have more studio time than we do.  Summer
  • Agree with @Summer …  hang in there...
  • Ugh.. well this didn't work. I did make a start but I just couldn't muster up the enthusiasm or the time for a big painting. Going to scrap this and do something smaller and similar.

    Feeling a bit burnt out at the moment. I have a lot going on at my day job and in the rest of my life. :(
  • I hope you feel better soon @Richard_P - I happened upon a video yesterday (an email) that may help -  a quote from his blog post yesterday - Paul Foxton:

     'Just get to the easel

    I really, really didn’t feel like working that day.

    I don’t know about you, but every now and again I have a day where I feel so low I can hardly get myself into the studio. I don’t know where it comes from. I wish it wouldn’t come at all.

    But it does. Less often these days, but I know that every now and again I’ll really struggle. And the only way I know to deal with it is to just get started.

    I don’t always manage it."

  • SummerSummer -
    edited October 2018
    @Richard_P ; I sometimes think that these lags in productivity are necessary.  There is something in your immediate future you need to come across first that will inspire you to begin again.  A piece of information that is missing and causing the lag.  I think this is hidden from our awareness because we are distracted at the same time meeting the demands of society and family life.  I can't seem to avoid the inevitable ebb and flow either as the universe tries to give me what I want and I struggle to know what that is.  I am confident that piece of inspiration will appear soon.  It always has.  Summer 
  • @Richard_P Will you coat the drawing with clear acrylic gesso before painting?
  • Thanks Summer, I guess I do need to recharge my batteries a bit.

    @JohnDevine Yes I will.
  • This too shall pass...
  • 'Just get to the easel

  • edited October 2018
    What @Summer said.
    Hang in there, @Richard_P. Get to the easel when you're ready. Self discipline is good but sometimes we really do just need a break from it.  :)
  • Even the most productive field will benefit from being allowed to lie fallow for a time
  • I have had an idea for a project in my head that I've wanted to do for well over a year now..

    It would be a whole series of paintings and a big commitment to do this, so I've put it off until now. Although I don't have much free time, each painting would not be as complicated to do as other subject matter I'd like to do which would have more complex scenes with many elements involved.

    It is also something I feel an emotional reaction towards doing, which is what I want from my paintings. I'm not interested in painting something that doesn't move me in some way.

    So I've started on a new painting. I will discuss the background to this portrait and why I chose it once it is done.

    Again I'm using dibond and clear gesso for this one. I did some testing of both the gesso adhesion and the transfer quality of graphite paper on 3 treated dibond surfaces: untouched satin/gloss polyester finished dibond, dibond hand sanded with super fine sandpaper, and dibond sanded with a hand sander machine with a much rougher grit.

    As I expected the gesso on untreated smooth polyester finished dibond can scrape off easily with a fingernail. The lightly scratched version is much more resistant, surprisingly so considering the surface still feels quite smooth. The roughly sanded version has the best adhesion and it is very difficult to remove the gesso by scratching with a fingernail.

    The graphite drawing transfer worked best on the super fine hand sanded version (which is what I found in my painting of Maria). The rough version didn't always result in a good transfer and the smooth version sometimes didn't seem to transfer well either, perhaps too glossy?

    So, whilst the lightly scratched version is probably fine, what I've done is rough sanded the dibond using a hand sanding machine, then I've immediately cleaned with ethanol and once that has evaporated I've coated the panel with one vertical brushed layer of clear gesso. The rough sanding sands through to the aluminium in places at the edges so I cover with gesso as quick as I can. Once this is dry I transfer the image with graphite paper and pressing hard with a strong fine tipped pen. Then I apply a second layer of gesso (in a horizontal brushed pattern). This seals the graphite so it can't mix with the paint and produces a texture I quite like with the horizontal and vertical brushstrokes of gesso.

    So far it seems to work well once very lightly sanded to remove some of the tooth's roughness.

    Here is the transfer onto the dibond panel (5 steps):


  • Completely over my head............

  • @Richard_P, thanks for the detailed explanation of how you transferred this drawing.  Looking forward to seeing it progress.
  • Step 1 - pure black now blocked in:

  • @Dianna, we both learned how to refinish furniture and I'm assuming you also did quite a bit of interior and exterior prep, priming and painting. The tips shared here and related threads confused me for a long time because I was in  that other mindset. Richard and several others have done a lot of experimenting So we can trust them. By now of course you know all you need do is ask anytime anything is not clear to you. I have  a list of questions to ask when ever I use up my  current supply of primed canvases and ready to try something new.
  • A new one by you, @Richard_P. I love watching them emerge from the darkness. :)
  • SummerSummer -
    edited October 2018
    Naturally, I love the research you are doing.  As I do mine, the biggest challenge is to keep from putting  anything acrylic over oils accidentally--haha.  I have so many experiments going on at one time I forget which primers I used on which surfaces.  I must keep better notes--beginning tomorrow.  Looking forward to your results.  Everything sounds and looks good so far.  :)
  • Thanks all. @Dianna, any questions then ask away! :)
  • Richard, I was overwhelmed with information... confused for months after coming here. As much as I noticed all my art mistakes I also saw some similarities that coincided with my previous Non-Art experiences. It took a while for me to understand enough to think how to ask the question. Venice turps for example I knew from working with horses and could not see how that would be anything but a detriment to art mediums. I had always used denatured alcohol for many painting (not art) situations.
  • Bob, we'd be in the same situation if we had to learn all you know about the dangerous things you've done in your life, like buying hats. Just imagine it! :open_mouth:
  • Step 2 blocked in, next is to blend into the black. It's Halloween tonight so I doubt I'd get any time to paint until tomorrow :)

  • Blend into the black? I know it's not DMP but I thought your method was dark to light  no blend till the end? BTW I don't buy hats, they were issued, awarded, gifted, won, stolen found or adopted. I would never waste my money like that.
  • I keep experimenting with the method I use and see which one suits me best :)
  • Whatever your doing your technique  produces wonderful pictures. Do you always paint wet in wet, Richard? 
  • Thanks Rob. Yes I do, the only time I paint over dry paint is if I wasn't able to paint into it quick enough due to time constraints.
  • Blended into the black (step 1). You can't really tell from the photo unfortunately. Next is to block in step 3 and then her face will start to appear.

  • This is going to be another stunner! 
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