November 27, 2012

Adding Galaxies - SHIVA

Shiva's dance of destruction inspires the creation and destruction of the cosmos. I was inspired by hubble images and added them around the dancing figure. Here is how they look all together on the finished piece.
They also look really cool when viewed thru my Chromadepth 3D glasses. Below are 7 close up examples of the various galaxies I painted around Shiva.

Go see the work at Stride, closes this Friday and will never be hung together as a collection again.

Strides website/ information.

November 15, 2012

Shivas dance of destruction

Shivas skin is painted and the figure is blocked in in the round.... but now needs a head.
You can see the charcoal o the black gesso of where the head needs to be placed. The rear hand still needs to be painted in as well.
 Here is  a closer show to show the shading details added to the figure.
I painted in the rear arm.

 Here is a detail of the hand.
This is the first placement of the head and shape but it didn't look right so I had to do it over again.
 I blocked in the major planes of the head and face, this time softening the edges and pointing the chin a bit more.
I added a bit more shadow depth and blocked in the eyes.
I then did a little work on the hair and added in more stars into the cosmos.

November 14, 2012

RAMA - towards gold and robes

Here is some of the process for finishing my Rama painting currently on exhibition at the Stride Gallery until the end of this month.

 I left off with the painting at the fall of light stage. I must have painted and repainted it 5 times. Learning that its okay to rework and wipe away. The creation of this piece became a very organic process. I also lost my reference material when my laptop had to be reformatted.
I wanted to create darker shadows and more realistic form with this piece than in my previous sacred images. I also wanted the dark skin tone to resemble a rocky statue. I had a picture that I ripped out of a national geographic that had a great stone texture that I used as my inspiration. I added pits and cracks and highlights.
I decided to have Rama pulling back a lightning bolt instead of a traditional arrow.  I taped the shape off and painted it in with leafing resin. It takes at least an hour for it to become tacky and ready to lay leaf. My idea is that I can create crisper shapes when I pull the tape of afterward.
After gently laying down the gold leaf I rubbed it with the back of my knuckles because the brushes I have are a little too rough and tear the gold leaf leaving an undesirable cracked texture. This is the first test I have for doing it this way and it has turned out quite good for being a total noobie. I clear coated the gold leaf afterward to protect it, keep it shiny and to stall any future oxidation that might occur.
I drew out half of the bow shape onto a large sheet of paper so that I could have a symmetrical bow. I cut out the sheet and used it as a placement guide. I followed the paper guide with masking tape and gently cut it out to match using my matte knife where necessary.
I figure out an appropriate angle to place the top part of the bow and then laid down the masking in the same manner as on the lower half. Afterward, I placed the guilding glue or size and waited until it became tacky to the touch.
Here is the gold leaf applied to the inner shape. You can see the bits that are loose over the masking tape as they have nothing to adhere to. I gently brush them away and try to salvage as many pieces as I can leaving the rest to fall to the floor like rice at a wedding.
I removed the tape, cleaned up the edges and applied the protective coating over top of the gold. It shines brilliantly and beautifully. far better than any gold paint ever could. I like the implied line of the bow string and decided not to paint it in at all.
The next stage as time consuming. Since I had no plan or reference I had to improvise a flowing robe in white paint. I used a slightly translucent white and scrubbed it to give it a silky appearance. Beneath each foot I decided to have him stand on the robe as if it is helping him to float in the red void. I left some of the robe at the point of construction lines to give it a lyrical feel and to reveal some of the steps in creating it.
I gave him a helmet with the fabric coming from the top of it. I decided not to paint it with shadows which would give it solidity and weight. Instead it is more like an outline or X-ray style. I did not paint in the gems or add any gold so that the simple color palette would not be disturbed.
Here is a shot of the full piece in the studio before heading to the gallery space for hanging.

Here is a current active link to the Gallery page for more info and a great article about the work:

Check it out before it is to late!

November 2, 2012


Eastern promises

Artist finds creative salvation in Vedic deities


Divine Inspiration by Brian Batista
Stride Gallery
Friday, October 26 - Friday, November 30

More in: Visual Arts

As he tells it, Brian Batista has been an artist for over 30 years; he just hasn’t had much work to show for it. He says he knew he wanted to paint since he was five, but due to the interceding diversions of school and work, he’s just now holding his second solo show.

While Batista graduated from the Alberta College of Art and Design in 2001 and was lucky enough to get a job straight out of the gate as Emmedia’s production co-ordinator — a role he held for eight years — the resulting 16-hour days didn’t leave much time to hit the canvas.
So, he walked away from it all.

“When you work in artist-run centres, you’re working for the artist — and I wanted to be the artist again,” he says. “I was like, okay, I’ve had enough, because I needed some growth.... I tried to redefine myself.... Everyone knew me as the video guy. And there was a huge falling out period — I felt lost for about six months. I wasn’t the video guy. I didn’t have those jobs anymore. In your 30s that’s a lot scarier.”

Thankfully, Batista had no less than a pantheon of deities to guide the way; while he maintains he’s “close to being an atheist,” he was attracted to the iconography of Tibetan Buddhism on an aesthetic if not spiritual level. Saying he wasn’t quite sure of his own style, he researched figures in museums from New York to Los Angeles, Toronto to Calgary.

“What really interests me is that it’s all about the human condition,” he says. “Also, I’m super-literal, and [in Tibetan art] every object has a meaning and tells a story. I don’t really understand abstract art, and classical, figurative art is a little too obvious. I like symbols, motifs and iconography, but I still want to do figurative work.”

So Batista ventured forth with his first major series of works, fairly faithful (if a little brighter colour-scheme wise) representations of these deities, even going so far as to teach himself the sacred geometry that the Tibetans used in determining scale, proportions and positioning of their subjects.
“The Tibetan stuff is relationships to everything else — if one leg is up the other has to be down, if one leg is pointed this way, the other has to be pointed that way,” explains Batista. “It creates a balance, somehow, using those shapes and that math.”

For his current exhibition at Stride — Divine Inspiration — Batista reached even further back in time, looking to the Vedic deities of Hinduism which later informed the Tibetan Buddhist pantheon. However, this time around Batista allowed himself more representational leeway — while elephant-headed Ganesh comes across pretty much how you’d expect, the goddess Lakshmi appears with dreadlocks and holds a banjo, and the traditionally male Shiva is rendered in female form (fun fact — his model was Carisa Hendrix, local Guinness record-holding fire eater and last week’s subject of this publication’s Your Face Here).

Also, while the colourful images certainly pop out of the frames on their own accord, the effect is further emphasized with a pair of Chromatech 3D glasses, which are available at the gallery.
Batista downplays this visual twist, though — he says the paintings stand on their own without the effect — he just wanted to try it out after being introduced to the technique at a rave and then realizing he had already painted colours — much like a printmaker — in the order needed to produce a 3D image.

Indeed, it seems to be part and parcel of a journey of both serious (he’s also studied classical Florentine figurative painting) and playful exploration as he discovers what it is to be a working artist.
Batista admits he’s still finding his way, which is why having a place to show his work is of such importance.
“[Calgary artist Chris Cran] came up to my paintings and pointed out some things that just opened my eyes,” says Batista of the kind of dialogue facilitated by the opening of Divine Inspiration. “And that’s what I wanted, because I’m trying to get somewhere and I don’t know where that is.”