Torso Anatomy

Painting is self-discovery. Every good artist paints what he is-Jackson Pollock

As stated in an earlier post, this is the time of year for Valdosta’s Spring Into Art Show. I’ve entered it every year since 2008 and this year wasn’t any different. Although every year as produced zero awards or sales, I still enter to get my name out there. Or I’m just a glutton for punishment and love throwing away $40 for the entrance fee. Either or.

Anyhoot, yeah hoot…I love owls…I entered 2 pieces, Self Pt. 3 “Lips” and Torso Anatomy. The latter is the focus of this post as I drew Self Pt. 3 “Lips” in 2011. Not to much to say about anyway, its your standard charcoal drawing of a gigantic pair of my lips, you know the usual. IMG-20130408-01389

Torso Anatomy came about from a sketch I did last year. It was actually about this time last year that I was really getting into anatomy/medical illustration. So while perusing some anatomy books, I saw this really musculoskeletal (not sure if that’s a word) torso drawing. So I took that and ran with it.

Torso Anatomy 1 Initial Sketch
Here’s the initial idea sketch

First I needed a canvas and I wanted it to be kinda big and lo and behold I had the perfect thing. In my Painting II class, we had to do self-portraits with oil paints. I had done self-portrait drawings in charcoal but never a painted one. I say this because it came out rather terrible and odd-looking. And not in the “Look-its-so-avant-garde-Lake Park-20130304-01241and-abstracted” way. It was just plain bad. I got a B on it and I’m thankful for it but I’m pretty sure I went home and wept bitterly for hours over how bad it was. That’s it on the left and yeah…its pretty terrible. Every time I looked at it, I just thought, “Man that’s a waste of a good canvas”. So I took matters in my own hand and just threw white paint all over it and covered it up completely. But because this was an oil painting and the white paint I covered it up with it was a latex based, it didn’t work as well I wanted it to in some areas, woops!

I started out with my “fresh” white canvas and the next step was to draw out my sketch on the canvas. I know not every artist does, in fact my painting teacher says only high school kids do this, oh well a high schooler be I then! I don’t do it for every piece but I wanted to this one to be as perfect as possible so yeah I sketched it out. I got to admit, working on this piece wasn’t the most pleasant experience. On top of the stress to make sure it was gonna be special enough for exhibition, I was working with oils. In 2010, I pretty much worked with oils almost day of the week, then in 2011, I did more mixed media and not as much oils. Then in 2012, I didn’t use oils any. So this was pretty much the first time I had worked with oils since mid-2011. If you’ve never worked with oils, you gotta use paint thinner or some solvent with oils. Usually with acrylics or watercolors, you just use water to wet your brush, but not with oils (they’re not the easiest medium to work with but the results are always fantastic). Anyways, my workroom a.k.a. The Cat Cave, is just an ordinary bedroom in my house. There’s a window and a vent but no fans, so its not a very well-ventilated area and that’s kind of a must-have when using paint thinner. In 2011, it began to bother me more and more about the fumes but I kept working with oils, til finally I put them away but my Torso Anatomy piece was just begging to painted in oils. So I got a flimsy little face mask that you use for when mow the yard so the grass won’t bother you. Even though I had that mask and took frequent breaks, the fumes still bothered me (yes apparently I am a delicate flower when it comes to breathing in noxious odors that could potentially cause lung problems…dramatic yes?) But I don’t learn, so I kept chugging along with my oils because I forgot how much I missed painting with them. Difficult? Yes but I love it! So I’ve decided that whenever I’m gonna use oils again, I have a screened-in porch and I’m going to work outside so I can then infect the environment with paint fumes, nature is apparently tougher than I am when it comes to weird smells.

So here’s a gallery of the steps that Torso Anatomy came into fruition:

 So all of that lead up to this final product…

#135 13 Torso Anatomy 13.3 20 x 24 Oils & Charcoal On Canvas
Torso Anatomy 20 in x 24 in 2013 Oils & Charcoal on Canvas

So there’s another piece in the 2013 works. I put it on Facebook and a lady who goes to church said “You’re very talented but that is not cup of tea!” Which I’ll take as a compliment!


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