Monday, March 14, 2011

Alla Prima Fisher Price Fire Truck Demo

I recently completed this painting of a Fisher Price toy fire engine.  My little brother had one of these when we were kids.  It's the cutest thing - when you push it the bell rings and the lil guy at the front looks back and forth and bounces a little.

I was asked to do this by David Lewis of the Aurora Regional Fire Museum.  I'm a sucker for local museums, and said yes, and we should share the proceeds.  It's a really good museum.  The painting is up for auction right now:

There are lots of painters who paint toys - I am not one of them. But, I thought I might be able to do a passable job of it. The keys to making the painting succesful and looking like *I* painted it are this:
  1. Light it dramatically. 
  2. Place the focal point at approximately 1/3 the width of the canvas
  3. Get the bell in there (well, that was for me.  I love the bell.)
  4. Get enough of the ladder in there to look like itself without becoming a painting ABOUT a ladder
  5. Minimize the text (text draws the eye)
  6. Get the plastic color and translucency precisely right
  7. Get the proportions precisely correct
  8. Get it done in a hurry.  The show is April 9 and the auction needed to be before that.
To keep myself from going insane and/or taking a lifetime to paint this, I traced the photo reference.  You bet.  That's going to surprise a lot of people, but I'm starting to shift my focus from HOW things get made to WHAT gets made. I want a good, meaningful painting, by any means necessary.

Palette was: titanium and flake white, cad yellow, yellow ochre, WN Bright red (woulda used vermilion if I'd had any), burnt sienna,  perm alizarin, ultra blue, ivory black.  So, my regular palette + cad yellow and bright red.

Heres the demonstration of it being made, all sped up and time lapse for your viewing convenience. Cheers!

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  1. Wonderful, Lisa...they are sure to make piles of money with your painting!

  2. Quelle Horreur! Photo tracing!

    Hehe, just kidding. It's a really nice piece and I love the lighting, it lends it a kind of gentle nostalgia I think. Perhaps a good litmus test of whether you can use a photo reference in a painting successfully is when it doesn't look like you have and it hasn't affected the finished effect in any negative way. Mission accomplished I'd say, with bells on.