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Thursday, October 21, 2010
Ducati Blade - Part 2
Here is the second installment in the painting of the Ducati blade. From here the emphasis shifts from mostly airbrush work to a balance of work with both the airbrush and a paint brush.
In the same photocopy template method as before, I move to a mid gray color to put in all the areas on the motor and rear wheel. I work to keep this color slightly dark in case something isn’t in quite the right spot. This subtle color is easier to adjust.
Now the work starts with the paint brush. In order to keep things steady on such a small scale, I have taken some of the painting techniques that I have learned from my good friend Keith Hanson. Keith is a master pin striper and airbrush artist and over the years, I have watched and learned some great brush techniques from him. One thing that is interesting in how a pin striper works is the way that they brace their hands together to steady the lines. This was the first thing that I found I needed to adopt in order to keep the brush where I wanted it. Second, when a pin stripe is being applied, the bristles of the brush are placed on the surface and not removed until the line is done. I found this part to be a challenge coming from a more painterly, watercolor style. The results of learning this technique however yielded controlled lines no bigger than the width of a hair.
This is what the blade looks like after the edges of the red were cleaned up, the lighter gray and black details were painted in. All the photocopy template work that was done up to this point has really laid in a great road map as to where things go. As you can imagine, if a detail is off by a half a centimeter on this scale, it is off by a mile.
The same paint brush techniques are used again with a very light gray.
When I create a painting, one of my primary goals is to remove the indication of what tools were used in that work. I want the viewer to see the image, not the method. One of the best indications I have of a success here is when the viewer’s reaction is simply ‘How did you do that?’ A large part of that comes from blending different techniques. The goal is to successfully take the strengths of one tool while at the same time diminishing the weaknesses of another. Without a doubt, few tools blend color like an airbrush. That is true on any scale. From this stage in the painting, through the end, I bounce back and forth. Painting in some details with the paint brush and then softening them with the air brush. I have a set of pocket sized templates from artist Scott MacKay that work brilliantly on this scale.
Here is the blade with all the details in and ready for clear. Since this blade is metal and it is primed and painted with automotive grade primers and paint, it will receive a two part catalyzed clear coat. Since this clear is extremely tough, it will allow me to frame this without glass. This point is very important as I have found that the reflections in glass (even the museum, non glare glass) can distract from such a tiny piece.
Finally, the blade is mounted in a custom frame designed and built by both my father and brother in law. This one is officially renamed ‘1098’ for the model of the bike and is ready for the gallery.
The full effort of the studio now is to finish the five donation paintings for the show in January. Since they are such an important part of the show, the press releases that go out in mid-November needs to feature them. Currently, I have two done and should have the third done this week. Here is a quick preview of the Army and Navy tags.