During my visit, my mentor had me watch the technique of New York illustrator, Donato Giancola. Donato spends his time initially doing a highly rendered drawing of his illustration. Once he is completely satisfied with the drawings and has all the values and subtleties to his liking, he then photocopies the drawings onto Strathmore 500 series Drawing 1 ply paper. The rationale to this approach is so that he does not need to then worry about ruining his original drawing should a mistake happen in the painting phase. This technique also lets the artist print out multiple copies of his or her drawing and then experiment with many different color combinations with each one. Unless the painting is going to be extremely large, he mounts the paper onto 1/4" masonite boards using acrylic matte medium as the glue/sealant.
So, in order to try out this method, I first have to get a finished drawing ready to be transferred. Luckily, I met a man willing to help me with my artwork. His name is David and he has NF1. David lives in the Netherlands and I happened to meet him online through Facebook. Because NF is not a disease, but a genetic disorder it is not something that only concentrates in certain geographical areas. NF is worldwide in distribution, affects both sexes equally and has no particular racial, geographic or ethnic distribution. Therefore, NF can appear in any family.
I had asked David if he could have someone take a few photos of him for me to use. Not only did he do it, he had about twenty taken and had them done and sent by the next day. He is just a real blessing, since lots of people with NF don't want to talk about it and some even refuse to have their pictures taken.
I finished the drawing this afternoon, so now, I will need to go find some masonite boards for the backings of the transfers. I don't have anything drawn in the background because I plan on having all that just done with loose paint without a predetermined outcome. I now need to go have the photocopies made. I think I am going to try a smooth finish to my paper when I transfer it. I'd like to do at least four different versions with four different color methods in mind.
In order to mount this drawing, I need to wet the paper first to get it to expand before applying the 'glue' to the panel/masonite and back of the copy. Then roll out the paper with a rubber printers roller. The idea is to squeeze out most of the excess medium but leave enough to work as a glue. This also means, I need to go buy a rubber roller! I will update again as soon as I have these transferred!
With a little help from my husband, all my boards are cut to the right size and I was able to transfer the drawings and get them all secured and mounted without bubbling or rips. I had to stand up on a chair in order to take this picture. (I think every real artist studio should have a Hot Wheels race car track in it too along with a broken florescent light fixture.)
I originally had planned on doing about three or four. Somehow I accidentally stumbled up the properties of the number 6. According to the Pythagoreans, 6 is a perfect number and symbolized beauty and high ideals. So, since I am questioning beauty as I explore these portraits, why not paint David 6 times with 6 different color treatments. Well, we'll see how it goes.
So, I decided to paint the portraits in complementary color pairs. Pairing of the portraits seems to just be natural, or I have been reading too much about the pairing of chromosomes lately, but either way, it seemed to be the way my brain was wired to do this. For each pair, I tried to use the base background color as the base color for the skin tone and then to use the complement for the shadow areas. Doing the Manchess exercise right before this definitely loosened me up as far as brushstrokes are concerned. Plus, doing this technique does help alleviate the pressure of messing up the drawing underneath. I knew at any point if the painting was going terribly, I could simply paste a new drawing down on the board and start over.
Here are the color complement paintings. I am going to try to do something to those borders, but I am not quite sure yet what. I am thinking simple color strokes that are found on the DNA chromosomes would make for interesting graphics around the edge. (Again, please excuse my camera and we can all be thankful I am not working on a MFA in photography):