New player? Sign Up Here
Level 5: 772 points
Alltime Score: 7504 points
Last Logged In: June 27th, 2017
BADGE: Winner of a Duel BADGE: INTERREGNUM TEAM: Team Shplank TEAM: San Francisco Zero TEAM: SCIENCE! TEAM: 0UT TEAM: Run-of-the-mill taskers TEAM: Synaesthetics TEAM: LØVE TEAM: Public Library Zero TEAM: The Sutro Tower Health and Safety Task Force Justice TEAM: Bollywood TEAM: Urban Picnic Society TEAM: Whimsy TEAM: Hero Academy TEAM: SFØ Academy BART Psychogeographical Association Rank 2: Trafficker EquivalenZ Rank 2: Human Googlebot Humanitarian Crisis Rank 1: Peacekeeper

15 + 205 points

Player Portrait by Bex.

August 1st, 2008 4:53 PM / Location: 37.763115,-122.4177

INSTRUCTIONS: Paint a fellow player - we'd really prefer that you use their player photo as your model, though. Any medium/style, but let us know what you end up doing with it.

YellowBear recently had his first SFØ Bearthday. To commemorate the occasion, I brought him and his posse (with whom I have a little history) to my studio for a formal portrait sitting.
This first player portrait inspired two others of Lunch and myself.

I'll guide you through a little taste of my process:

First I got really anal retentive with the porportions:


I used tracings of this line drawing as my basis for many of the other steps.
I did a quick value study because otherwise I tend to make everything medium values.


Then I used a photocopy of this to do a color study. I didn't like how he looked under normal warm lighting as it took away from his handsome yellowness:


So I placed him under blue lighting to see what would happen and redid the color study:


Gouache paint is a difficult medium. It doesn't mix well on the canvas:


I pre-mixed all the colors in ice cube trays:


I would mix, paint a little on a chip of illustration board, wait for it to dry, hold it up to various parts of the subject (core shadow, highlights, reflected light, etc.), and repeat until it looked like the color might work. Then I applied a rough undercoat where each more or less was supposed to go.
Then began my first attempt at color stippling. Making just the right mix of zillions of tiny dots is time consuming, but I am pleased that the colors worked.

Still Life with YellowBear and Ninja Posse.
Gouache on illustration board.

In spite of its pointillistic style, I think it has a mildly photorealistic touch (try looking from a distance or squinting) which I didn't think I would be able to pull off as I was not terrifically experienced with painting in color or using gouache. This demonstrates the effectiveness (for me) of pure time. Hours spend adjusting and readjusting, days of staying up until long after the sun came up again.

YellowBear was, as always, a gracious Bear throughout the entire process. I hope he enjoys his portrait, wherever he may be wandering...

* * *

Then the Puddin' Head became a little jealous of my attentions to Mr. Bear, and commissioned her own portrait. Miss Head's refined sensibilities made her a difficult client to please. Refusing to sit in the same position for days at a time, she insisted I use one of her player photographs:


She once had me start over. I had tried to speed things up by painting a layer of gesso with fur textures underneath, but the results were deemed unsatisfactory. She wagged her tail in that way she does when she wants to indicate that something looks too much like a velvet Elvis for her classy tastes:


She expressed befuddled exasperation that I insisted on experimenting by painting her in green and maroon (her fur does not actually grow in those colors). I fear she may have been right if only because I stopped in frustration before spending quite the same grueling amount of time I spent on YellowBear's portrait. If I'd kept going, I think the greens and brilliant oranges and pinks and grays and maroons would blend better in the viewers eyes to look like the right browns.
However she did ultimately stare demonically for an extended period of time to indicate her grudging approval.


To round out the numbers, I painted one more, a self-portrait of myself breaking in my new magic wand in a moonlit SF windowsil. I had a lot of fun making up weird rim lighting on this one. And playing with my magic wand to the peril of those below.


All in all, I'm feeling good about my tentative steps into semi-realistic color painting with gouache! Time consuming, but meditative. Mmm... All three portraits are hung above the mantle.

- smaller

Ninja Posse got YB's back.

Ninja Posse got YB's back.

YellowBear's Last Portrait? *sniff*

stage 1

stage 1

I started by getting the proportions just so. I used a tracings of this contour drawing for all subsequent stages.

value study

value study

yellow color study

yellow color study

At first I lit them with warm tungsten lighting, but I didn't like the way it made YellowBear's handsome yellowness look less special.

blue color study redo

blue color study redo

So I got some blue acetate and put it over the lamp. Yay!

Gouache failures

Gouache failures

This is just to show you how bad gouache looks if you try to mix it on the canvas. Hence the stippling.



I premixed all the colors in ice cube trays and on platters. I'd mix, paint a bit on a small chip of illustration board, wait for it to dry and hold it up to the subject to see if it would work. TIme consuming. Yes. But fun.

Velvis Puddin'?

Velvis Puddin'?

I tried getting fur texture by painting an undercoat of gesso and scraping it in the direction of the fur. The Puddin' said that this technique, though much faster, made it look like a velvet elvis. She made me start over.

This experiment in colors looks better if you squint.

This experiment in colors looks better if you squint.

It received the mildly disinterested demonic stare of approval.

Witchy Window Woman with Wand.

Witchy Window Woman with Wand.

Urban Fairy Princess Bex.

41 vote(s)

Favorite of:


(none yet)

25 comment(s)

(no subject)
posted by Bex. on August 1st, 2008 2:10 AM

I don't know how to remove the Puddin' Head as a collaborator. Anyone?

(no subject)
posted by Loki on August 1st, 2008 2:45 AM

If Puddin Head invited you to the task, then I think only Puddin Head can remove Puddin Head, and only with an unsubmit and resubmit. If you invited Puddin Head to the task, then I think you can boot her while editing. At least, that's the way it used to be.

Lovely work. (I always suspected you were selling yourself short when describing your artistic skills. Now we have proof.)

(no subject)
posted by Jellybean of Thark on August 1st, 2008 6:13 AM

Lucky mantle.

(no subject) +1
posted by Bryce on August 1st, 2008 7:51 AM

Beautiful work.

posted by susy derkins on August 1st, 2008 9:06 AM

Socks blown off. YB´s is so sweet and heroic. I knew something was cooking when you had no player picture on, but I didn´t know it was *so* amazing: the angle of your feet, the light through your hair, it moves even coarse non-Aesthematician sensitivities like mine.
A little history? Hug for the snif, gouache dots instead of words

(no subject) +1
posted by Minch on August 1st, 2008 9:45 AM

i am in awe if you.

posted by Spidere on August 1st, 2008 10:33 AM

WØWs. :)

So good I might even vote despite the sock puppet collaborator...

posted by Puddin' Head on August 1st, 2008 11:37 AM

Mrow! I am no sockpuppet! We even met the other night over hookah...
Jeez, just because a cat can't type for herself...

Rousseau is a real person, too.
posted by Spidere on August 1st, 2008 1:15 PM

Certainly, you must admit that you didn't actually paint anything for this completion--I mean, is it fair to take credit for Bex's work? Even if so, would it be fair to all the other portrait subjects (including Yellowbear?) It's nothing personal, honest--even though you've mistaken me for someone else met over hookah. ;) Or perhaps your typist is getting ahead of themself and forgetting whether just one or both of you were there...

The proof was un-submitted
posted by SF0 Daemon on August 1st, 2008 4:52 PM

This proof was un-submitted - any comments before this one are from before the un-submit.

(no subject)
posted by Bex. on August 1st, 2008 5:00 PM

Ah, there we go,
the Puddin' sometimes likes to take credit for a lot of things she didn't do. Pride and all, y'know? But I finally convinced her that commissioning a portrait doesn't make you its artist.

She is staring at me in that "I'm shooting laser beams from my eyes" kind of way.
Heh, I'm going to go get the tuna before my internal organs begin to singe.

Come back!
posted by Bex. on August 1st, 2008 5:01 PM

Oh noes! We lost all our voteses!



posted by Spidere on August 1st, 2008 5:10 PM

(tries the magic vote-summoning call)

(no subject) +1
posted by Kid A on August 1st, 2008 6:32 PM

Nicely done. We should become a traveling band of painters. Only you'll paint. And I'll stand there and pretend that I paint.

(no subject) +1
posted by rongo rongo on August 1st, 2008 7:35 PM

This is amazing! The three portraits are all so different and wonderful.

(no subject)
posted by Dax Tran-Caffee on August 1st, 2008 10:06 PM

You paint swell.

These portraits are fight'n words if I've ever seen 'em.

(no subject)
posted by Bex. on August 1st, 2008 10:53 PM

Aw shucks!
(Are you sayin' you wanna fight, old pal?
Though I imagine you've had enough of showin' the people how this task is really done...)

(no subject) +1
posted by Dax Tran-Caffee on August 2nd, 2008 9:22 AM

I don't know what you're talking about.

And that Loser hasn't even finished that task. He should get no votes.

No, no...
posted by Spidere on August 2nd, 2008 1:34 PM

He should finish the task. Or at least the next three portraits. ;) I think that was one of CGØ's demands...

(no subject)
posted by Dax Tran-Caffee on August 2nd, 2008 3:07 PM

I don't recall that in the notes. Must not have happened.

(no subject)
posted by Lincøln on August 2nd, 2008 4:36 PM

At least you're not Darkaardvark.
I'd hate to be him.
All that anticipation...

(no subject) +3
posted by Darkaardvark on August 2nd, 2008 7:17 PM

You know, when I viewed this comment on my user page, all I could see of it was "At least you're not Darkaardvark. I'd hate to be him."

(no subject) +1
posted by bunny dragon on August 1st, 2008 10:32 PM

holy crap that's so very cool :)

(no subject) +2
posted by GYØ Ben on August 2nd, 2008 3:15 AM

Yeah, I'm with everyone else here, Bex, that's pretty damn fine work there.

(no subject)
posted by YellowBear on August 3rd, 2008 6:24 PM

: )