Monday, August 27, 2012

Getting Ready for the Grand Opening on September 7th!

The painting is almost finished! This is a really good thing because the grand opening of Capoeira: Roots, Myths and Legends is coming right up on Friday, September 7, from 6:30 - 9:30 pm at the Capoeira Mandinga Academy, 4137 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611.  Artist Talk by Anna Ludwig at 7pm, followed by a dedication ceremony and a capoeira demonstration by Mandinga students.  Refreshments will be served!
Here's a small section of the almost-finished 6' x 12' oil painting
I have been doing so much painting that I have gotten quite behind on my blogging!  So let's step back in time a few months and see how I got here. I spent about 3 weeks enlarging my pencil drawing onto the canvas, using the grid system I created with the help of my trusted assistants.  It was hard and tedious work, as pencil marks do not erase well from gessoed canvas.  But it paid off, and I was able to move quickly into the underpainting at the beginning of May.  

05.14.2012 - the first day of underpainting
The underpainting was done with very transparent oil paints (thinned to the point of dripping with Gamblin's Gamsol odorless mineral spirits, an product which has none of the problematic smell of turpentine and is just slightly more solvent than the Weber brand). In the European tradition, an underpainting would consist of a neutral, monochromatic grisaille, or value study. Here, I used an incredibly limited palette, in colors chosen for the complexity they would add to the final layers of color yet to be painted. I used cadmimum orange for the sky and water and any white pants, knowing that orange, the opposite of blue, would make the later layers of blue glow from underneath. 
05.18.2012 - about 3 full days of under-painting
I used a rich brown mixed from dioxazine purple, burnt sienna and orange for all the greenery of the jungle, knowing that this rich deep brown would make the lush green foliage pop out and provide a dark earthy background shadow color.  

The same purple and a bit of ultramarine blue tempered with burnt sienna and orange were used for the flesh colors and for the sand. 

5.22.12 Underpainting is almost finished, but the academy will be full of capoeiristas for the upcoming batizado! Time to use the pulleys to haul the painting up into the ceiling, away from flying kicks!

At this stage the painting really resembles my watercolors on paper, since I have left a lot of the white of the canvas showing amid large splashes of transparent color.

6.18.12 The underpainting is finished!

In early June, I finished the underpainting and began work on the second layer of color that would cover the canvas in the vibrant colors of a tropical paradise.  I started with the sky, mixing large batches of about 15 different shades of blue, warm blues, cool blues, yellowish blues, light blues, dark blues.  I did the sky and the line of trees on the first day and have since then spent a huge amount of time in the jungle.   

6.25.12 - about a week of painting in color

Every day that I work on the project, I try to take at least one photo of the painting from the same spot every day.  At the end of the project, I’ll put them all together for a sort of animation of the painting from start to finish.  Stay tuned for the next update, which will be devoted to the kids project we completed in July!