“How did you do that?”
That’s a common question from viewers and especially prospective customers when inquiring about the lacrosse artwork. A recent cleanup of the hard drive and backing up of files gave me the idea to discuss the process of a past, custom piece of art. It’s hard to describe, especially to non-artistic individuals, but I believe we all process pictures faster than words.
The custom piece was commissioned 5 years ago as a high school graduation present by Fred and Debbie Schiappa, of Chicago, IL, for their son who was heading to Bucknell University. They requested a large scale painting of an action shot – a defensive cross-check.
Here were the steps of production:
It’s always pencil/graphite on a blank, white canvas.
A light wash of cerulean blue to tone down the bright white.
Lean washes applied, or glazes, of undertones and shadows, first.
I never use black for shadows, rather purple and blue tones.
I rotate the areas to apply paint, keeping an even balance of layers and applications. Sometimes concentrating on one area too much, throws it off by looking close to “finished”.
I start to apply the hint of bright spots, or light sources. This one is on the flesh/skin tones.
As the confidence grows, I shift the light sources to other areas such as the pieces of equipment and uniforms.
I increase the thickness of the paint being applied, now that the foundation has been set. It’s starting to come along. The sticks are now in sight to be rendered.
With the figures close to being done, I start to focus on a background and surface area.
Again, the light process, or ‘lean to fat’, is used for the playing surface of an artificial playing field. The backdrop was a thin wash to break up negative space.
White lines, shadows, face mask bars, pockets and other important details were the last marks left to be done. The finished product is, below.
Last year, as their son’s 4 year lacrosse career at Bucknell came to a close, Fred and Debbie reached out to me again, this time to do a custom piece for the Bucknell Men’s Lacrosse head coach, Frank Fedorjaka. It was a present on the behalf of the parents of Bucknell Lacrosse.
It was great to have Fred and Debbie as repeat customers.
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