Friday, November 11, 2011

Petar Meseldzija - Eowyn and Lord of the Nazgul Underpainting

I had the pleasure of the opportunity to attend Illuxcon 2011 last week, and one of the highlights for me was the chance to watch a painting demostration from Petar Meseldzija in person.  Petar spoke on the value of emotional content in your work and then gave a whopping 3 hours demo where he attemtped to paint a folk tale-esque countryside scene for a new book.  He stated that he was not entirely happy with the result however, the demostration itself was a huge success from my point of view in that it showed many insights into Petar process.  One important piece that cannot be underestimate is the power of Petar's underpainting.  In this example of Eowyn and the Lord of the Nazgul, you can see the level and finish of his underpaintings.  If you check out his personal blog you will find the exact colors that he uses, but what I think is more important is that he does not use a single color like burnt umber for his entire underpainting.  He uses variation of monochrome, both warm and cool.  For example, many of us use burnt sienna and raw umber.  Burnt sienna is a very warm orangy brown, where raw umber is a much cooler almost bluish brown.  This combination of monochromatic tones enables the underpainting to begin to exhibit characteristics which helps define form as well as create depth as well as begins to expose what color relationships should be setup moving forward.  And like a Norman Rockwell painting that I once noticed all the light leaks showing through, Petar allows portion of the his underpainting to show through in order to add depth, increase tonal qualities and in some cases, simply allows it to bleed through to fill "light leak" holes in areas where he hasn't push paint into.  The way he paints, he seems to obliterate parts of the image with his brush strokes and uses the underpainting in part to help reel the image back in as he moves the paint over the canvas (or panel).  It still boggles my mind how beautifully craft his simple underpaintings are.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Petar Meseldzija - The Noble Dragon

I have been looking through Petar's work alot lately and it is truly amazing to watch the progression in his art from his older work to his newer stuff.  You can actually see the evolution in his brushwork from painting to painting.  Though brushwork is not the focus of today's image.  Today, I want to point out the relationship between saturated and unsaturated colors.  In this piece called the Noble Dragon, you can see how Petar has used saturation to help divide the positive and negative space of this piece.  The wings and body of the dragon, along with the rider and winged horse make up the positive space of the piece.  In that area is where all the action is happening.  The movement is there.  The ferocity of the dragon is there.  The rest...well we don't care.  That isn't true, the negative space provides wandering area for the eye to explorer.  Just when it becomes too much to stare into the jaws of this monster any longer, you can turn your gaze to the wonderful little waves below.  Too calm now?  Look up and BANG!  Bright saturated blues and reds and yellows.  Primary colors none the less.  This elevated level of saturation helps hold your interest at the focus point of the image and allows the rest to recede off into the supporting environment.  If the water was a deeper, richer, bluer hue, what would happen?  You'd be looking at the water because the rods and cones in our eyes are more stimulate for more saturated color.  It is more "exciting" as it were.  So Petar keeps all the most important information, all the exciting colors at or near the focal paint and the action of the image.  Keep that in mind next time, you decide to render that little bird in the tree in the corner with cad red light.