The sweltering heat at hand
and along a stretch of beach
made hard the shadows
and the imperfections on her skin,
footprints on sand,
far from its reach
and its bathwater flows
erasing all but Adam’s sin
lapping at the edge of land.
The above picture is a combination of photography and digital painting. The text is part of the picture and I have included it in the event you cannot read it in the picture.
Its a comment on modern society. Especially the obsession with physical appearance which we see everywhere today. Films, TV, advertising, its everywhere. The human form is presented, flawless as a classical statue. The feeling of being physically inadequate must haunt the susceptible. Especially the young.
Even though we know that photographs can be ‘Photoshopped’ we subconsciously accept the image as real. I think this media was appropriate for this ‘painting’.
The elements in the picture are:
the beach – where the D-Day scene from the movie Saving Private Ryan was shot (Curracloe, Co. Wexford, Ireland)
the statue – Venus de Milo, even she suffered from the ravages of time
the beach litter – Leonardo’s da Vinci’s The Vitruvian Man. Vitruvius (born c. 80–70 BC, died after c. 15 BC) described the human figure as being the principal source of proportion among the Classical orders of architecture (Wikipedia).
The computer application used was Photoshop, appropriately.
Whenever I see a film which has an Irish Landscape included I recognise the look of the sky, the colours, the flavour of the scenes which more often than not are only background glimpses. I love painting this ‘flavour’ of the Irish Landscape as opposed to an actual scene. It is a collection of cameos lumped together to produce a scene which has a familiarity we almost recognise as somewhere we’ve been. In midland Ireland its the flatness with the distinctive Ice Age sculpted hills on the horizon that does it for me.
As usual I used a very limited range of colours. For red – Burnt Sienna, yellow – Yellow Ochre and blue – Cobalt Blue. You can’t go wrong with these colours. Any combination results in beautiful natural colours found in the Irish countryside. I never use a green from the tube – they all look so artificial. Very rarely I would add a pinch of a Chrome Green or Viridian to a mix of cobalt and an earth yellow (Ochre or Sienna). But only a pinch. These colours, especially Viridian, are so invasive. Is is always the last colour to leave the bristles as you clean your brushes.
On the subject of cleaning your brushes, always, always clean them as soon as you finish painting. My technique is to rinse in White Spirits (the hardware variety), squeeze out the excess with absorbent tissue paper and wash in soap and water. Put a few drops of washing-up liquid in the palm of your hand, rub each brush in turn in the soapy liquid to work up a lather taking care not to break any of the bristles. Rinse out in water and repeat the process. Squeeze out the lather and repeat the process until there is no trace of the colour remaining. Rinse out again thoroughly and hopefully you will not have to repeat the process. If any paint or soap accumulates, especially where the bristles join the handle of the brush it will cause the bristles to spread and the brush will loose its shape. Its a chore but it makes starting your next painting session a little easier.
This video is condensed down from 1 hour to less than 10 minutes. Its in HD so you can watch it in full screen and stop the video to study any of the processes involved.
I hope you are inspired to ‘have a go’ using this simple fast technique.