Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Anatomy of a Street Painting Part 3

So I lucked out on this one! I came back the following day on this project to find out that it was not tampered with even in the slightest :) That definitely made my morning!

However, I was anticipating on finishing this mid-afternoon (around 3 or 4) and ended up working until evening - mostly because of chatty people! Always schedule for chatting time ;) This day was also substantially warmer than the first day I worked, and that definitely effected my speed. I think there were a few times I said to myself 'you know, I could have been done by now, and then I had to paint an aqueduct...'

Regardless, here's the final painting and people seamed pretty happy with it so that made my day:

I'm making this post on a Tuesday and it is still there! I biked by it today. I hope people are still enjoying it.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Anatomy of a Street Painting Part 2

Alrighty! Part 2. Sorry this didn't happen over the weekend. My weekend was pretty exhausting, and as much as I had good intentions for posting this update on the first day of my painting, it didn't happen.

I started work Saturday morning around 10:00. My roommate usually helps me set up the grid. I'm not actually entirely sure how street painters do it without help ;). I suppose I'm not quite that good yet. But anyway. Paintings start with a square the size of your image. I do mine in duct tape, and then mark every foot with a permanent marker so it actually stays throughout the painting in case I need to put any of it back in later

The grid is made using a simple chalk line from the hardware store. Once that's in, then I can roughly outline the drawing like you can see in the photo below...

From that point in, it's just adding the colour and chatting with the people. I'd definitely say that all the talking is what takes up most of my time!!

Anyway, by the end of the day I had mostly David filled in and a bit of the sky on the oval landscape portion.

The end of the day is usually the point I have least control over. If it rains, you can cover your paintings with tarp and that will probably do a decent job at preventing them from getting trashed. And while you're sitting there working, you can usually make most people aware enough of your presence to not walk through your work. But when you're not there - the preservation of the painting is really up to fate!

I've come back many times to find footprints through the painting, or tire tracks from somebody's bicycle. You can't controll what people will do! Just cross your fingers and hope you don't have too much of a mess to deal with in the morning.

This year I was situated amongst some public art (these metal, colourful trees flourish in downtown London!) so between those and my little pylons, I was able to mark the area off with caution tape before I took off for the night.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Anatomy of a Street Painting Part 1

So I've wanted to share the process of putting together a street painting for a while now - except every painting I've done, I've either not thought about it until after the fact, or get too lazy while posting and decide to skip sharing all the planning steps.

Either way, this is the planning stages for the painting I'll be doing for Festa Italiana this year locally in London, Ontario. The past few years, I've had the honor of creating another 'masterpiece' for their annual Italian festival. This year they requested a painting of Michelangelo's infamous David so in response, I put together this image:

I should note, that as of 11:00 this morning, this painting was substantially simpler. Originally I was going to go with a painting of the statue, with some grape vines at the bottom to add some colour. That was, until my roommate Jess came home from work several hours later. He's always bursting with ideas (and critiques) for everything I do...

He suggested some Italian architecture or some landscape. Through the power of photoshop and google, we collaged an aqueduct with a photo of a classic Italian vineyard and some beautiful hillside. I don't have credit for the photos, so if you see yours here, be proud to be a part of my final painting ;)

Anyway, I feel this may be a tad overly ambitious, but I guess I'm that kind of girl... The weather for this weekend is suppose to be beautiful (try and plan accordingly!) and I can always cut out elements as I need to. It's good to plan for more and do less, than have less and then finish your gig wayyyyy too early (funny, when they pay you for multiple days of painting, they expect multiple days of painting!).

I must point out that all references are used loosely. Often I use photos, but I also sometimes use original drawings or other elements of different paintings and things as well. I find with street painting, because you're creating work under such time constraints, that it is best to have a plan, especially in regards to your composition. It sucks to try and figure things out last minute because with the crowd, the heat, and the noise, you already have enough to deal with. I'll be armed with close-up shots of difficult areas, including the face, hands, feet, as well as a print-out of just the oval portion and several photo references of grape leaves to fill in the areas at his feet.

For the actual painting of the image, I add a grid that will correspond with the drawing once it gets on pavement. Usually I block it into 1 foot squares (such as this one), though occasionally I'll do 6 inch squares over difficult or highly detailed areas. Sometimes, if there's a lot of room in the image to play, I just map out important compositional markers (like thirds, halfs, diagonals, and/or circles) and just draw out from there.

Anyway, I'm admittedly nervous about the work but I usually am (I get grossly underwhelmed with my references when I piece them together - much more comforting and easier to just re-paint some old masters' painting). But I'm sure it'll be fine once I get into the groove of the painting and start seeing it develop.

So if you're out there, come visit me and bring water or a nice cold coffee! Saturday and Sunday at the Covent Garden Market. And cross your fingers for sunny weather, and more-importantly, that I don't get trampled by too many absent-minded pedestrians.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Bam... Update!

I just wanted to share a few things...

If you haven't already done so.. My (almost) daily illustration blog is well underway so check it out here: almostdailyillustrations.blogspot.com

I have a bunch of them up on Ebay which you can check out here:

Chupacabra vrs. Goat
Sperm Whale vrs. Giant Squid
an Ankle-Biter
Cthulhu the Almighty

Also, I just started up a twitter for people who want to follow just about everything I do, and then some! https://twitter.com/axlsart

Anyway, I'm pretty excited about the drawings, and pretty stoked about getting them up onto ebay. Please check them out! All proceeds goes towards materials for some of the latest projects I've posted... which are slow moving, in part, due to lack of materials. lol. That. And the weather is just far too amazing to be inside painting (when one can be outside drawing!)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Dragon Tamer

My contribution to this year's Expressions in Chalk vent here locally in London, Ontario: