Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Almost Last Painting Of The Decade

As the decade draws (yes, pun intended) to a close, I want to thank all my friends and fans for continuing to support my work. Without you folks, all this artwork would be for my eyes only, and that would be not nearly as fun.

I still have a few days before the ball drops (uncomfortable expression, isn't it?), so I may have time to finish one more oil painting...but in the meantime, here's one that I finished yesterday. I wanted to capture that moment, just after Mary Philbin snatches Lon Chaney's mask from his twisted face, and he turns and glares at her in accusational rage. The shot in the film is slightly out of focus, which somehow makes it more nightmarish.

The "soft focus" effect here is easily accomplished. While the oils are still wet on the canvas, I take a fan brush and very lightly drag the brush over the paint. I dry-wipe the brush clean after each stroke. I work in one diagonal direction, and then the other. The key is not to put any pressure on the brush as it sweeps over the paint, just let gravity do it's thing. The result is an eerie, soft glow, which is a pretty cool effect.

I use this technique on almost all my oil paintings, usually after the tones have been laid down. It helps me see that the general shapes of the tones are correct. In most paintings, however, I continue to refine after that. This PHANTOM OF THE OPERA didn't need much else, except a little tweaking in the eyes.

Happy Holidays!

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