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Friday, July 4, 2014

Summertime Bears

For the EAG summer members show, I wanted to do a piece that fit in with my current birch board experimentation. I had an idea of a picnic ground that had been visited by a bunch of curious and playful bears. Minimal design and colors - something graphic and fun.
"Summertime Bears"
4 - 8x8" - acrylic on birch wood boards

I originally thought of this as a large piece with a bunch of mini scenes - but in the end I decided to keep the idea small and approach multiple bear themes on smaller boards.

After roughly comping out the scenes on the iPad, I printed out the scenes at scale and began painting up the background trees with a thin acrylic layer. I used a stencil to maintain a consistency between 2 tree sizes and shapes.

I always like to keep my environment flexible and fun. Here you can see as I watch "The Simpsons" while I'm working. I'm using this butcher board rolling table as a movable workstation so I can position it wherever I want to be, or for various lighting conditions.

After the initial layers of paint, I added a bark detail and then a very thin wash over the whole thing to soak the paint deeper into the grain and bring it out a little. 

Next step was trying out this boarder idea before I committed to it. I just painted it on paper and laid it over to see how I liked it.

Next step was cutting out the characters from the previously printed thumbnails. I printed these at size so that I could easily position the characters over the final boards and not have to go through the step of re-drawing carefully. I cut out just enough to get what I needed. You can see I cut just a tiny sliver to identify where the top of the trashcan is. 

Here I have laid the templates over the boards. From here I'll paint in enough to get the characters in the right spots. I kept labels on the sides to identify the order of the boards. This order just seemed right at the time - but really they can go in any order.

Now I'm mostly through the painting - things are starting to come together.

I've painted the boarders and details here. I opted to paint the sides of the boards in an orange wash to complement the bears. Here I'm painting at the work desk which has fluorescent lighting and a fan for drying faster. I like to look closer in this lighting and pain in minor bits that I didn't see before. Different lighting sometimes reveals stuff I didn't see before.

Here the artwork sits, waiting for it's placement in the show coming up this weekend!

If you are in the Chicago land area, come on by the Elmhurst Art Museum to see this piece on display. The reception is on June 11th at 7pm!

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