Thursday, September 14, 2006

Love...Captain America Style

Let's get to the meat! Mego Ben needs a Marvel Mego for his book, and he's gonna get one! I must say, this is a different style of working for me. What is of the utmost importance is that I capture Captain America's "Mego-ness". The stitching, odd skin color, and the mix of fabric vs. plastic is the important part of this project. I can romanticize, but NOT idealize. When I work on a piece, I tend to "fix" nature. I will try to fight this urge.

Mego Ben sent me a MINT ( just out of the box...He's really needs to stop that) Captain America immediately after we talked. I looked at it for a couple of days ( not in their entirety, but a lot). These are really gorgeous little pieces of art in themselves. I never got a Captain America when I was a kid, but I always wanted one. The neighbor kid had them ALL in multiples ( I think his name was Sean Something...) and he totally trashed them. I actually got some replacement gloves for my Robin out of his yard.

This Captain has an ear paint-job that doesn't match up with the face. He has weird eyes that could have used a little catch-light or something, and I LOVE the black shadow that was actually included in the mask. Awesome!

I work in a typical 17th century Renaissance style ( Caravaggio, Degas, Michelangelo, etc.) where I make a fairly detailed drawing and apply paint over it in layers. This application of paint in thin layers uses the colors to optically mix when you look at it. You can neutralize colors and make realistic shades and tints by applying a color's opposite ( or Bizarro color if you will) over top of it. Example: In Captain America's head there is a dark shadow under his neck. In order to make this look believable, real, or whatever you need to add blue's ( his mask color) natural Bizarro to the overlying color-Orange. Fun Tip: NEVER add black to make a shadow in a color looks shitty. So, I keep a little bit of the blue for the mask and I will add a hint of a powerful orange to neutralize the blue, and thus make a believable, real, or whatever shadow. See? Now we truly are making art...the Otto Lange way. Oh by the way, "Making art the Otto Lange way" is a little homage to all of those really bad art instruction books.

Sean Youngblood! That was his name. I SO hated that kid. He pulled out his weiner at the pool in our subdivision and couldn't come back. This would have been 1977.

First, I'm going to use a picture Mego Ben and I agree on and the Mego guy himself to make an initial sketch with a drawing stump ( above pic). I do this lightly so I can make changes easily.

Next, I start to define my drawing by adding some actual pencil marks. Notice here that Cap's face is bloated in a somewhat Jerry Lewis-like fashion ( you've seen that picture!). I need to trim him up a bit before it feel its what I want. When I get the drawing done, I'll paint a light coat of oil medium and paint over it in a Grisaille. This is a mid-tone underpainting that I can manipulate with lights and darks. I use Carvaggio's method which is a grey, and it works well for me.

I will work some more, and post in a few days. I am really lucky to have found a way to justify great amounts of time painting toys I always wanted. I guess I could have anyway, but its better when there is a great reason. I love the urgency of this project. Its like some spy movie. "We MUST get this serum ( in this case, the Captain America work) to the lab ( the lab being Marvel Comics ), Professor ( who would be ... Benjamin )!". I'm a little screwed up, but I do good work.

Check back with me in a few days to see how its coming! Pin It Now!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


This is funny. My wonderfully wicked little niece spends a lot of time over at my house. Since she was born, I've changed my diet to include lots of fruits and vegetables. I love beer, pizza, donuts, cookie, cake, candy, etc., but...I want to a least try to have healthy things around for her.

Okay, the funny thing is that I'm constantly finding the remnants of little snacks all over the house. A little arrangement of Goldfish crackers in the bathroom, or a tomato with a popsicle stick plunged into it on the porch. I found this EXACT placement of a half-eaten strawberry on my living room floor..."hey there sweetie, did we finish our picnic early?". Kids are Fantastic!

"Strawberries No.2", 2006
6" x 6", oil on cradled Masonite

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