Monday, June 3, 2013

Boca Boy

Diane Mannion, BOCA BOY, 6x6" oil

Dailypaintworks FB Pick of the Day... Yay!

 An ice cream eater squatting in the shade on a hot, hot day!

I feel a close connection to Boca Grande, Florida.  My husband and I had an art gallery upstairs in the Depot Building in the late 1990's.  There was and still is an ice cream shop downstairs in the Loose Caboose which attracts folks like bees to honey.  Many shops had signs saying No Food! but we had one that said... Ice Cream Eaters Welcome!  I'd spend the end of each day mopping sticky floors but also adding up a few extra sales.

So when this little boy appeared across the street from my booth at the Boca Grande Invitational Exhibit last weekend, I grabbed my iPhone and snapped a few grainy, long-distance reference photos.  Most of this painting is made up (to protect the innocent) but he really was wearing a funny creature hat.  There were four sets of "eyes" to consider... sunglasses on the hat, the creature's eyes, and the boy's eyes and his glasses!  The distant background and nearby bush are imagined... or as Terry Miura calls it, MSU.  Make Stuff Up.

Have been experimenting (every painting is an experiment) with wet into wet painting, or alla prima and the freezer, or frozen-alla-prima, FAP.  This little painting took two days, so to keep the paint wet I wrapped it in plastic and stuck it in the freezer where it was smashed into the back by my unsuspecting husband freezing a chunk of cheese before smoking it (for eating, not inhaling).  No damage, happy to report.  

Thumbnail Sketch where I completely redesigned the photo and added distant background.  This has become an important stage in my painting.  A way of getting into the subject, designing, noticing the value pattern, composition, and most important... what to leave out.  Dozens of problems are solved and decisions are made here before hitting the canvas!

Transparent red oxide underpainting helped me "feel" the atmosphere.  This stage also allows me to "own" or take control of the canvas, overcoming the fear of the blank "page."  I use tissues, rags, and paper towels to mold and shape the subject, almost like working with clay.  
Used only paint and Gamsol, no medium.

First color layer.  Then many more layers of thicker and
thicker paint.  Used only paint from the tubes, no medium.  Started with transparent colors then opaques.  Forgot to take more photos of the struggle.  Lots of scrapping back, rubbing out andpainting over happened.  I'd get it and lose it, get it and lose it...
 an ugly battle but happy with the results!
Thank you to all that have read and scrolled this far!  Oh, and the smoked mozzarella and lemon pizza was fabulous!  Who would have thought?!?


Unknown said...

that pizza sounds interesting!
This is a great post. The painting is wonderful! I love the way he's sitting and the hat he's wearing. I like to capture those precious candid moments too. Do you find that people often turn around and see you taking their picture, though? (I do) This place you've described sounds like such fun!

Diane Mannion said...

Katherine! Thank you for your comment. Yes, as soon as you aim a camera at someone... they change. That's why I love iPhones. It looks like I'm checking my email but I'm actually snapping a photo. And unless I have permission, I change the character's appearance in the painting. I'm not painting a portrait, but using an impression of a figure in the landscape.

shirley fachilla said...

Love your little guy and the many sets of eyes!
I so agree that a mini sketch before taking up the brush really helps especially when painting from photos or painting a plein air landscape with all that wealth of info.
I've frozen paint but never a painting. That's food for thought as is a lemon!!! pizza!

Diane Mannion said...

Thanks, Shirley! Lemon pizza is amazing! We made another this weekend and it's all gone. I've even started to freeze my brushes instead of washing them so often... think it's better for them and my hands. I love the way I don't waste a speck of paint anymore by freezing it. Even mix leftovers into neutrals and save. Plastic wrap rules.

Kathleen Eve Kelly said...

This kid is adorable! LOVE his innocence. You captured the spirit of the child eating an ice cream cone on a hot day. FANTASTIC!

Diane Mannion said...

He was so much fun to paint, Kathleen! Thanks for your comment.