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Mike Derby Portrait Blog



  • MikeDerby

    What about using an additive to the alkyd stain? Clear gesso, marble dust, Art Spectrum Clear Coloufix.


  • Thank you @dencal and @Forgiveness .  I bought this paper as a lark to use for sketches and experiments and was hoping it would be less work to prepare.  Additives are a good idea and I will look into that canvas book.
  • I have not been painting lately.  I have a crazy schedule and quarter end was hard this time.  I did spend some time correcting errors and applying some suggestions to the family painting, which looks a little better each time I refine it.  Maybe by next year it will be presentable.  :)
    I have been watching videos of course and one of the series I really like is the Tom Keating on Painters show that ran in the early 80's.  He used a word which seems to describe an intangible I have been thinking about a lot lately.  "Prismatic."
    Last year I was experimenting with marble dust and still use it.  I used the fine grit on one painting and thought it was too coarse.  But when I painted over it the result just seemed to have a little something extra.  It was no better painted than anything else I could do at the time, but it read better and was pleasing in a way I could not describe. I have noticed the same thing about paintings where I purposely added texture to the surface. I think the little specs of marble dust and the texture made it prismatic in a subtle way that the eye and brain can process without our conscience awareness.
    You probably already knew all of this but it has taken me awhile to catch on.  I used to try so hard to keep things flat and smooth so the photos would be good and absent glare.  I have dropped that approach.
    I hope you are all doing well and pushing brushes.
  • PaulBPaulB mod
    edited October 11
    MikeDerby said:
    I think the little specs of marble dust and the texture made it prismatic in a subtle way that the eye and brain can process without our conscience awareness.
    Is this effect something like adding a very fine "glittery" result?  The same way mica in stone looks?  Does it show up on photographs?

    MikeDerby said:
    I hope you are all doing well and pushing brushes.
    No sir, we pull them.  They last longer.  :)
  • I was worried you might have been caught up with the floods of Florence. I'm glad to see you back. I can't wait to try the marble dust.
  • @paulb its not glittery but it bends the light, thats my only guess.  The paint texture does show on photos but the dust generally does not.  Funny but we work so hard to paint it well and most of the charm is lost to a digital image.
    My brushes get a lot of abuse.  push pull twist twirl jab dab and etc.  I am trying to make things happen so no rules.  I do buy a lot of brushes.
    @Bob73 we are in the middle of our second hurricane in a month.  The last one dropped 12 inches in 48 hours.  My neice got 33 inches.  This one came in like a lion and went out like a lamb.
    I hope you get to paint something soon.
  • Makes you appreciate living on a hill even if it's a little one like mine.
  • Stay safe Mike! Hope you get back into painting soon :)
  • Hope there's no damage at your place, @MikeDerby. Stay safe.  :)
  • Thanks Rob. We are fine but many others were hit pretty hard.  Down east North Carolina had a lot of flooding and now the Florida pan handle is a shambles.  It was just wind and rain for the rest of us.
  • David Grey recently posted a recommendation on Instagram of Anthraquinone Red (say that 3 times real fast  :)) because it is the same color and transparency as alizarin crimson but is more permanent.  M Graham offers it with a lightfastness of 1.  I tested it against W&N alizarin and it looks the same to me.
    I thought any of you that love alizarin crimson as much as i do would be interested to know.  I also wonder if any of you have any idea what anthraquinone is .....
  • SummerSummer -
    edited October 15
    ann thra key/qweh known    ann thra key/qweh known    ann thra key/qweh known--haha  A Google search yielded that it's a yellow powder or crystaline compound used to make natural and synthetic dyes.  I think Gamblin uses it in their watercolor paint.  Anthracene is oxidated to make anthraquinone.  Different qualities are made.  World market. 
  • PaulBPaulB mod
    Tischler talks about Quinacridone Magenta.  I think @CJD has some...
  • anthraquinone sounds like a medication that works equally well on anthrax and malaria but not both at the same time. The pills are red but if you're not sick, you can grind the pills into powder, mix in some linseed oil then paint with it. That's what Cro-Magnon people did with berries and other plants that weren't good for medicine or food.
  • Update on Strathmore 400 series oil painting paper.  I have just coated a sheet with water based gesso and it has only minimal warping.
  • I get a similar result, I attach the sheet to plywood boards I used to use for mounting watercolor paper. I use masking tape along the entire 4 sides and paint in oil. The boards I made measure 12" X 15", 1/2" plywood. Similar to stretching watercolor paper, good and tight.
    The last line kills me.  “He would scrape most of the previous nights work and start again.”
    i cannot do that.
  • These are things I am thinking about now.

  • They're all good, @MikeDerby but the first one gets my vote. They way the reflection of the bird is contorted by the ripples is great -there's a particularly beautiful wavy white line at the leading edge of the wing in the reflection that really grabs me. :)
  • @tassieguy  Thank you for pointing that out. I do like that very much myself.
  • I really  like the top one. It might be worthwhile playing around with the composition to give more room in front of the bird rather than behind to give it space to fly into. 

  • How do you get those birds to fly when you want them to, so you can take a picture of them with their reflection under them? Looks like David up there is curious too.
  • I like that image too, but it's a bit blurred and dark in the background. I had a play with it but this is the best I can do:

  • edited November 3
    Beautiful composition. The blurry background will certainly highlight the bird and its reflection more, some brightest highlights may need to be brought down a bit.
  • @Boudicca thats a very good idea.  Room to land is a good thing.  These are crops so I can move them a round.  @Richard_P thanks for the processing help.  I have many shots of the same scene so I can pick one in focus.  @BOB73 i know right?  Take after take.  It’s amazing they would put up with it.  @Forgiveness I like the slightly indistinct background as well.  My printer will make a slightly darker image and with no illumination, the whites don’t jump out at you as much.  After the ballerina, I became tuned into the impact of stark contrast.  The white pops so well I don’t have to purposely over do it.
  • edited November 3
    @MikeDerby   that is so bizarre!  I wanted to paint something special for you for the card swap and my Edisto River ideas were a complete failure (way too tiny of a canvas to get any kind of interest) so I decided to re-visit your Charleston album - I have been working on some of those and enjoying your scenes very much - however, I am still not having success - this was my latest attempt - I loved so many of your photos, especially the cherub 
    I loved the notan of so many of your cherubs

    that could be a powerful painting with that fantastic notan  - unfortunately, I can't do it.  I was doing these last week, so seeing that you are looking at your same photos and getting inspiration is so crazy to me!  So, my vote is for this cherub!  :)

    I mean, look how cute!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  
  • I agree the cherubs are fun and they have some of the “midnight in the garden of good and evil” quality about them, so there is no cheese attached.  Thank you for being so ambitious on my behalf @Julianna

  • I just posted a painting of a mask which approximates a portrait on instagram.  Its abstract so it does not belong here but if you would like to see it please go to mderbyart.  It was a lark and was drafted from imagination with no reference.  I finished it about 2am last night.  I really like it.  I have no idea where it came from.
  • why can't you post it here on your blog?  this is "general discussion" category - it's not like you're posting it in the painting section.  I'd love to see it.  
  • I like the cherubs better. Let me know when you get it. I want to know if there is a red lipstick print where @Julianna said she wanted to kiss it.
  • that is so cool @MikeDerby   I love that pea green.  how awesome that you got so lost in it and had so much fun.  
  • PaulBPaulB mod
    Mike, remember Ming the Merciless from Flash Gordon?

    Aside: I'm not deleting anything.  I'm just here to fight spam and respond to those abuse/troll/spam flags.
  • edited November 22
    I don't know how this is possible for me but I can relate with this and I like it. This is much like graphic design/illustration. The triangular shapes, composition, the color scheme and the face is quite familiar to me as well and really well done. Looks like it was fun. I can visualize this being used in an article in some prominent financial magazine or other prominent publication.
  • edited November 22
    Thank you @Julianna @BOB73 @PaulB @Forgiveness .  I paint for fun and stress relief.  This one definitely falls into the fun side of things.  After so many big paintings these little ones have been great.
    If you concentrate on the eyes and think about people in the business press the resemblance will come to you.  It was unintentional and took me by surprise.  No way am I saying a name.  If someone sees it and makes the connection it might be an illustration. @PaulB I am not familiar with that reference but I thought it looked like the aliens in Independence Day with Will Smith.
    I hesitated to post it because after all, this is a realism site, and I need to do my part to honor that.  There are plenty of places to post the other stuff.  Maybe this is close enough since it has eyes and stuff.  =)
  • PaulBPaulB mod
    Mike, it's EM.

    "DMP Forum - Eyes and stuff"  :)
  • SummerSummer -
    edited November 22
    I think it is E.M. as well.  :)
  • So wise!  Don’t tell.  I don’t want to get sued.
  • Mike Derby

    Your next
    Elon Musk is sending a Japanese billionaire and 8 artists on a voyage around the moon

  • YAY!  I hear the view is great!
  • Is this a prismatic piece? ;)
  • I toyed with calling it Mr Kaleid Triangles.
  • That's a really fun pictutre, @MikeDerby. Love the geometry and the colour  And it really does resemble Mr Flymetomars E.M.   :) :)
  • Very nice! I like the colours especially :)
  • Nice view and perspective.
  • Really nice portrait. Love the diagonal orientation. The colours are great, too.  :)
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