Automax: an exercise in being awesome.

February 26, 2011

“Automos” Watercolor on stretched watercolor paper. 8″x10″.

Automos (detail)

Here is the high res version of My most recent creation. I’ve been reading a lot of other art blogs lately and on one of them I came across an interesting idea. One of the themes that will be discussed on the blog in the future is “being awesome every single day”. As a conceptual artist, I understand exactly what is meant by that statement. It made me realize that I hadn’t been awesome in a long, long time. Being awesome every day isn’t something you can just switch on, so I decided to take being awesome for a test flight.

Last Sunday was a free day for me so it seemed like the right time to try it out. My goal for that day was to create one finished piece of art by the time I went to bed. My hope was that, by being that ambitious, I might actually get past the concept stage and maybe even get some paint on the canvas(or in my case watercolor paper) before I fell asleep or got distracted by video games or movies, or the internet, etc. Lucky for me, I don’t have cable or satellite TV anymore.

When I sat down at my table I had no idea what I was going to create. I thought about doing an angel illustration. After doing a number of doodles that didn’t amount to anything, I decided to go in another direction. I did a few sketches of a steam powered robot holding a sword and finally had something I thought I could work with. Once I had a good doodle, I tried something new and traced it with tracing paper so I could get a better sense of the general outline. Then I scanned the image in, made a few photoshopy adjustments and printed off. I did a graphite rub on the back of the print and then traced it onto stretched watercolor paper.

After retracing the image on the watercolor paper to solidify the lines and after making a few last adjustments, I did an orange wash over the whole image to give it a good under painting. After letting the wash dry I started in with the darks and began building up the shadows. I did a color study in photoshop to try to give myself a game plan for the image. However, once I started painting I ditched the color study completely and went in a totally different direction.

By the end of the day I was about 95% done with the painting… which is far better than I expected. Somehow last Sunday I was able to lock on to some kind of create energy and determination that allowed me to bypass the part of most of my paintings that makes them take months to complete. I tend to over complicate things and add way too much detail. This painting forced me to simplify and do only what I could in one day.

I’m not sure if I actually achieved any level of awesome last Sunday, but I think managed to make a pretty big leap in the right direction. Now I just have to start trying to be awesome every day… although I don’t know if I have that kind of stamina yet.

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