Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Samson Rebirth

Samson Rebirth
14" X 18"
Acrylic on Canvas Board (unframed)
By Stan Levine

Samson was my brother's dog who recently passed. I used a photo reference I found on Facebook to paint this pet portrait. As I was painting Samson, I felt his presence around me. It was almost as if my painting somehow invoked the spirit of the dog around me. I could even smell his distinct canine smell in the room. Samson is a very loyal dog who protects the innocent with his strong canine powers.
I began this painting by mixing a cool gray color with Mars Black, Titanium White and Cerulean Blue. Since the dog has warm colors, using a cool gray for the background colors created a sense of depth in the painting. Samson's head rests over a car seat that has pattern woven in it. If I wanted to I could have spent several days carefully carving in each weave of the seat with a tiny brush, but if I did, the level of detail would compete with the dog. In a painting it's important not to make each detail crisp and clear or it will end up being boring or too busy. It's important to have resting space and a focal point in a painting. Just a dash of dark cool gray with light cool gray right next to it creates just the right effect of hinting at the weave in the seat rather than spelling out every detail. The next step was to blog in the shape of Samson with a light reddish orange color mixed with Cadmium Yellow, Quinacridone Red, and Titanium White. Then going over that with Red Oxide mixed with the white and gray to create the warm grayish browns of Samson's beautiful fur coat. When you paint it's important to have fun, and to be in the spirit of what you're painting. When I explain how I paint it may sound technical but I don't really have a definitive process for painting. I use my instincts which is something I've developed over time through years of training and experience. A painting is an inward journey. Each stroke of the brush is a choice, and with each decision a step forward is taken on that journey to wherever the painting leads. I always start with the big shapes, and gradually add in detail from general to specific. The last thing I painted to complete the painting was Samson's eyes. Eyes are the window to the soul. If you mess up the eyes, the whole painting will be off. I studied my photo reference, and thought about the shape and the color. Then I started the eyes with a reddish brown of his iris, added the pupil, and surrounded the iris with the lines that shape the eye lids. Then I added a light touch of Titanium White to create the shiny part. It's important to notice details, but it's also important not to get lost in them. When something looks good in a painting, I move on to the next area. If I focus too much on one area, it gets all over worked. I got to keep the brush moving to different areas, and after I've touched up other areas I'll stand back about nine feet and see if I need to revisit any areas. As the painting nears completion, it become more important to know exactly what I want to do before I do it. Playing around on a painting that is near completion can mess areas up that were working well. When it's hard to know what to do next, I just do the first thing that comes to mind and react. After a few hundred tubes of paint I'll figure it out, and if I don't I just got to keep painting and remember to feel the spirit of what I'm painting and enjoy the creative process.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Funny Faces by Stan Levine

These are custom made emoticons for you to use as avatars to express your mood on your social networking sites.

To get your "Funny Faces," contact StanLevine@stanimation-productions.com for details.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

New Orleans Railroad 36" X 36" Acrylic on Canvas

New Orleans Railroad
By Stan Levine
36" X 36"
Acrylic on Canvas

Friday, February 5, 2010

A Portrait of Wes

To begin this acrylic portrait painting I first gathered all of my colors to decide which colors to mix in order to get all the colors I need on my pallet. I use Liquitex Professional Acrylic Artist Colors.

Here is a picture of my pallet with the colors I will need for this portrait painting. Portrait paintings can be very complex because skin changes color as it rolls over underlying forms of tissue. In some places skin may be rosy pink, or blush red, while in others pale peach or light brown. To get the skin colors in my portrait painting I used cadmium yellow deep hue, red oxide, quinacridone red in small amounts mixed with titanium white. Wes wore a blue plaid shirt in my photo reference, so to get the colors for that I mixed cerulean blue and some bright aqua green with titanium white. A little transparent burnt umber, prism violet and some mars black helped render hair and shadow areas. I mixed my colored together with a up and down dabbing motion of a pallet knife. To test out the color, or to thin the paint out a little, I smear the paint across the pallet a little. Then spray a little water on it to thin it out.
I began the portrait painting by painting the background a light yellowish peach color. Then I started blocking in the general shape of Wes's plaid shirt using the light blueish green color because if you squint your eyes you can see that the shirt is predominantly a bluish green color. Then I used my light flesh tones to block in the shape of the arms and head. Gradually working in the big shapes, I began to build in detail from general shapes of color to more specific subtleties.

Then I took a break to let all of the color completely dry. When I returned, I began adding another layer of details. To get the seams of the jeans I used a small flat end brush to apply bluish white, then right next to those seam shapes, I applied a shade of blue slightly darker than the local color of jeans. Once I got the figure to the level of detail I wanted, I added in the plunger in his hands. The portrait of Wes holds a plunger to reenact a humorous moment in his childhood, so it was important to suggest humor using light happy colors in this painting. I used the dark grayish, bluish purple color to create a drop shadow against the yellowish peach background. The plunger handle is cylindrical, so I used the appropriate colors to build in a half tone and a highlight to give the plunger a dimensional look in the painting. The actual plunger is bowl shaped, so to render that I thought about how I would render a sphere, then modified it to create the plane shifts where the light would curve towards and away from the light source.
Here (above) you see the finished piece. A Portrait of Wes by Stan Levine 18" X 14" on acrylic canvas board.
My link to buy Liquitex paint is my associate account's link to www.amazon.com. That means that if you buy acrylic paints for your paintings from that link, I will make a small percentage for promoting the product on Amazon.
Thank you for viewing my blog.

Happy painting and peace be with you,

Stan Levine

Monday, February 1, 2010

My Favorite Comics

My Favorite Comics
By Stan Levine
Stanimation Productions

I was drinking Jamaican Me Crazy Coffee With a little International Delight French Vanilla Coffee Creamer in it, while reading the Sunday comics out of the Contra Costa Times. The links listed above are my Amazon affiliate links, which means that if you buy the products advertised in my blog, I will make a percentage. One of the comics that I really enjoyed was the "For Better Or For Worse" comic by Lynn Johnston.

This image above is from www.gocomics.com . What I like about this comic is the rhythm in the pose of the father who is running with the shovel in the second box. You can see how enthusiastic he is about playing in the snow by the action line. I also like the way he enters the house at the end to find his family on the couch. I like the level of detail in that frame. you can see all the books on the shelves, and the dog sleeping on the lower right corner. I like the overall composition of that frame, and I think it tells the story well.
Another one I really enjoyed is "Non Sequitur," by Wiley Miller.

From www.gocomics.com . If you like this comic, you can buy a "Non Sequitur: 2010 Day-to-Day Calendar," from Amazon by clicking on my affliliate link. What I like about this comic is how the comic tells a good story in just 9 sequential images. It's like a storyboard, and the punch line at the end is witty and funny! I also like the way Wiley Miller drew the airport limo. It looks like it's in motion by the way the wheels are all wonky and in the air with the exhaust fumes putting out that back. It's reminiscent of Bill Waterson's work in his "Calvin and Hobs," comic book. I also like the overall layout of "Non Sequitur." They're were a lot of really funny and well composed comics on Sunday, January 17, 2010.
I love starting out my day with a good cup of coffee and some true funny and well composed comics from the local newspaper.