There was always going to be another painting of Robby the Robot...just not so soon, or so I thought. You know what they say about the best laid plans... Well, I realised somewhere around mid December that I only had one new painting for the first show of the year in Boston in January. And then I tried not to panic about it. While I was pondering what to do about that, a memory stirred somewhere in the back of my brain about a hummingbird. Well, back in 1985 I was still in the air force and working at a swank joint forces library. The library itself was on the second floor and we had a good view of our surrounds. My car was parked below us and I happened to look out one sunny afternoon and spotted something buzzing about my drivers side mirror. It was hummingbird fluttering away at his own reflection. It was the cutest thing. And anyway, I remember painting the reflective surfaces on Robby's head dome during while working on BIRD FEEDER and thinking that a hummingbird would LOVE the shiny bits. So, I took my Robby toy on down to the basement for a photoshoot and proceeded to draw up the results. Then I found the perfect shot of a hummingbird in flight and voila! Instant painting idea. And it was an idea that virtually resonated in its simplicity...a far removal from the complex composition of BIRD FEEDER. AND it brought me back to the 'close focus' compositions that I am so fond of. Below, is the sketch for SHINY....
Here is the first easel shot I took when I started laying in the background. That took a good four hours of laying and layering paint, whisking through with a soft fluffy blending brush, and tweaking it all. I am very pleased with the amount of depth that I managed to achieve in spite of doing it all in one sitting. Got lots of nice lost edges and 'distance' and 'shadow' effects in the process.
Here, I am beginning to block in Robby's head dome. I forgot to take a progress photo of the rest of the background. Sorry about that. Painting Robby's head was just as difficult and exacting as painting almost all of him in BIRD FEEDER. I was going back and forth between two photos and held the actual toy in my left hand while I painted, again. Having the physical subject to hand for comparison is priceless for doing shadow and detail. Photos lose so much in detail, and the colours are so varied.
Here is Robby, complete, on the easel for the last time... I just love how the hummingbird turned out. He looks like he's just hanging there in space. I am rather pleased with that accomplishment.
The painting looks almost photographic from a distance, and in small photos like this. But the brushstrokes are surprisingly broad. My palette consisted of: Burnt Sienna, French Ultramarine, Titanium White, Cadmium Lemon, Sap Green, Chromium Oxide Green, Permanent Rose, and Cadmium Orange Hue. Brushes involved 1" and 1/2" Filberts, a 1/2" Angle Flat, #6 Round, #4 Round, and briefly, a #0 Round, and of course the BIG FLUFFY BLENDING BRUSHES, and a small ragged round for fine blending.
Thanks for stopping by. I hope you like my paintings and will stop by again.