I want to talk about these 30″ x 40″ paintings on Strathmore 500 illustration board. It’s the type of Strathmore illustration board with its official stamp, marking it as the highest quality paper available. The other part is that I will discuss using the liquid acrylics, the fluid acrylics, and a combination of Golden and the DaVinci fluid acrylics. And working in the heroic proportions that we talked about before.
And they will become mini murals because I’m most comfortable working in heroic proportions, and it brings me joy to be working on these and making each one different. But in playing with the colors and challenging the same colors to do different things, same colors, doing different things is a big challenge because I can make a yellow, not the same yellow, but it is the same yellow under the fact of the color that it’s next to.
That’s an essential part of this process. The other part of this process is I use my India ink, which I love when I use because of the flow in my linework. So my first part of the process is I draw with my extra fat pencil and then draw it out. Then I ink with the black ink, with the India ink.
Then when that dries, I start making the colors, and I have these variations of many colors. But I often play with the same color throughout the painting and weave the colors with each other. In other words, I could have that yellow next to the orange, next to the blue, and the yellow doesn’t become the same yellow as it is across the other side of the board.
The importance of this is that I’m unifying the pieces. At the same time, I’m allowing each color to stand on its own. I’m not interested in making colors that are just blurred or soft like I do sometimes. But for these, I need them to be murals. I need them to have an impact. I need them to talk to the people in a prominent voice and with large meaning.
The proportions of the heads are based on the small little watercolors I made at the onset of the COVID19 lockdown—the COVID19 small watercolors with the head profile views next to the head-on views. And then I started changing the heads around, moving them a little bit, and then I started putting the lines back in. Then after I have the color in, I put the lines back in, the black lines go back in, and that’s where I start changing the patterns and things of the black lines.
So I’m constantly rearranging the pattern. But it’s got to be a pattern in there for me to hold it together. The pattern is not just held together with the colors but a black background. That black background has to be there. Because as Renoir said, “Black is the queen of colors.” I love black, and I love color and black in color.
Even though we’re taught not to think of black and white as a color when teaching color theory class, black is a color. No, black is a color, and it’s not just the color of the night. It’s a positive color. It can be a very positive color and a defining color.
That’s what the color black is in these. The black ink is the defining color.