Hello, everyone! Yes, I’m still alive. And I’ve been working. On paintings. Well, on a painting. For the last couple of months, I’ve been hard at work on the 120 x 60 inch Icarus/Daedalus commission painting I first posted on in December of last year. Often, I am not at liberty to post in-progress shots of commission work, but I have reached a major milestone, the completion of the full underpainting for this composition,  and this is a great time to post an update.

Commission work can be complex beyond what takes place on the canvas (or, in this case, on the Aluminum Panel), especially for large work. Both the artist and the client need to be sure they are on the same page before months of work are invested. There were negotiations and discussions…all for the best. Then there was the model selection process, the photo shoots, the multiple, iterative rounds of drawing, perspective work, and refinements to the composition. At the end of all this work, a to-scale drawing emerged, ready to be transferred to the waiting 120 x 60 inch panel.

The above drawing measured 60 x 30 inches. The image you see is of a heavily digitally-manipulated composite of several photos of that drawing, which would have been almost impossible to see in a straight photo. But you get the idea. The transfer to the panel, four times larger, was accomplished by photocopying the drawing via a large format scanner/printer, dividing that copy into four quadrants, blowing each of those quadrants up 200%, and then performing an oil transfer to the main panel in four sections. It sounds complicated, but the math never lies, and it all went smoothly.

If my new-found devotion to the underpainting process was ever in doubt, all those doubts should now be laid to rest. The last two months have been dedicated to doing a full, highly detailed, grayscale underpainting for the entire painting. As much as it may seem like a huge time investment, it allowed me to work out numerous issues with the composition. The final painting will be so much better than if I had jumped straight in with color.

So, here is a photo of the full underpainting. a 120 x 60 inch painting is a challenge to photograph in a small studio, but other than a slight drop off of light from left to right and top to bottom, this is a pretty good image. Full props to Nikon for building great digital cameras and to Sigma for building an absolutely kick-ass 50mm prime lens with zero distortion and clear focus from corner to corner that can be afforded on even an artist’s salary. I couldn’t have taken the photo without it.

Color work on this beast will begin next week, and it may be a couple of months before I can share final images. So far I am completely satisfied, no, ecstatic about how the painting is coming together. See you all in few weeks.