Meanwhile, a mysterious painting begins to appear …

Mystery Sketch
©Xan Blackburn 2011

I have a commission to finish before the Fall Portrait Marathon, but I can’t tell you who it is.  It’s a secret.  A surprise.  A prezzie!  While I wait for the gessoed panel to dry, I thought I’d tease you with mysterious bits of process, while obscuring the final product.  Sounds like fun, huh?

So, on your left you see a bit of the sketch to be transferred to the panel.  Some of it you can probably figure out, but … who can it be??  (If you think you’ve guessed, keep the secret!  You can ask me privately if you really can’t resist.  😉 )

Mystery Sketch getting
Conte crayon for tranferring

This painting will be 16″ x 20″, and I like to do my sketch on my computer (makes fixing mistakes so painless!), but that’s clearly bigger than my printer can print.  What to do?  Print 8×10 sections and cut and tape, is what.  It’s also bigger than my remaining scraps of transfer paper, so … tape it to the window, backside out, and scribble all over with Conte crayon (like chalk pastel).

gessoed 16 x 20 panel

The Ampersand Gessobord panel I’m using is a little too slick for my current tastes, so I sanded it kind of roughly, then put a layer of gesso on it with rough brush-strokes, to give it some more tooth (what we artists call “texture” when we’re talking about something we’re painting on).  I added some Naples yellow to it, which gave it a mellow warmth.  Unfortunately, I used a funky Japanese brush, which shed hairs as I went, necessitating a lot of cussing and quick scraping and re-brushing to get them out without leaving weird scratched-up bits in the surface.  I used that brush to give more tooth, but I won’t use it that way again!  Maybe not at all.  (cussing stupid brush!)

bit of drawing, with “leash” taped down

Once the drawing, the pastel, and the gessoed panel were all ready to come together, I placed the drawing carefully, conte-side down, on the board.  To keep it from shifting around and messing up my transfer (don’t want it to come out looking like a Picasso, this time), I used some removable drafting tape to make some little “leashes”, using strips of paper taped to the back, folded over and taped to 3 places on the front of the drawing.  You can see two of them ready at the top of the panel above.  Like this >>

That’s where I am right now.  After that, we took the dogs for a walk, and now it’s time for dinner (I think Mexican, tonight, even though we forgot to get avocados!  Horrors!)

Thanks for looking!

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Xan's Art

The Xan in Xan's Art, I put the Art in Xan's Art. And the Xan. Yeah, I'm THAT Xan. :)

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