Thursday, June 17, 2010

THE JAILHOUSE: Behind the Scenes, Behind the Bars - PART 3

Kat Sapene is one of the finest painters I’ve known. And that’s saying something. I’m a geezer, I’ve have been around a long time and have known many painters. She is one of the best. Aside from her chops, one of the things make makes her work so good is her focus on the needs of the sculpture. She never showboats. She never does more or less than what will make sculpture the best it can be. And speaking as a sculptor, ain’t nothing better than that. Take a good look at how she handled the Jailhouse; the rust on the bars, the cast light from the lantern, the wear on the stone work. And those stripes! Those stripes! No small feat that. So, ladies and gentlemen, its my pleasure to introduce, the Princess of Paint, the Queen of Color. The one. The only. Kat Sapene! - THB

This is one of my favorite pieces. With all the little details that Tim threw in, it was a real pleasure to paint this scene.

Luckily for me, the figures and the base were left as separate pieces. Something that isn’t always the case, but with a piece as large as this, it allowed me to tackle one section at a time. As with any project, I started by collecting all the reference I could find. The client was able to supply me with a number of images he had taken in a behind the scenes tour of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. And with all the Disney pieces I have painted I have been collecting Disney movies, shorts and odd snippets on DVD for a number of years now. (Disney also has a nasty habit of throwing movies in their “Vault”, so get ‘em while they’re out or the movies won’t be available when you need them!) In one of these collections of shorts I happen to have a copy of an old TV show where Walt Disney takes you on a tour through the Pirates ride. This was perfect for capturing the mood of the ride.

With all my reference at hand I started by painting the figures. I mixed all the colors I would need to paint the figures and the dog, making sure to keep all colors fairly muted and dingy. But the biggest obstacle with these pirates was all those stripes! In small areas, like the socks and bandanas, stripes are easier since there isn’t really enough space to mess up. But with a full shirt like the blonde pirate, plan ahead! If you’re really nervous about stripes, take a pencil and lightly sketch out your stripe placement. Then make sure to seal it with some dullcote, otherwise your pencil markings will smear all over the place. Use thin layers of color so as not to build up too much paint, and breathe gently. Another thing to keep in mind is how stripes change when they wrinkle, meet an edge, or are tied in a knot. Something as simple as creating a seam by slightly offsetting where your stripes meet can give your piece a nice touch of realism

Next, I painted the base. Even though I’ve painted stone a million and one times, I never try to just duplicate what I’ve done in the past. While the basic techniques may be the same, the colors vary depending on the setting. For this base, I made sure to add some browns and raw umber to my colors to keep in line with the dirt on the figures. This helps to unify the piece as a whole instead of having a base and figures that don’t look like they are in the same world. Adding drips and stains to the walls adds to the dirtiness of the jailhouse. The final touch on the base was to add a bit of glow from the lantern to the wall. This was achieved by taking the highlight color I used on the stone and mixing in the colors of the light. Then I did a simple dry brush of these new colors on the wall where the light would hit.

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