Saturday, June 4, 2016

River of Blood- Sugary Blood!

Battle at the Red River, 16x20, oil on linen, © 2016 Richard J. Luschek II

The recent theme for my work is kids at play- and more specifically memories of my own childhood, so they are about a young Richard Luschek at play. The above painting is an attempt to move away from the emphasis on the word still in still-life and focus on adding more life. I decided I needed to step up the game in realism, not so much in execution and technique but thematically. My focus is still on design and the visual abstraction but the mood of the painting has to feel like a child at play.
I discussed the development of this idea in an earlier post based on the following set up. It felt stiff and not very real. It actually was separated into two different paintings.

This new direction resulted in my studio becoming a bit of a construction zone as I built some sets for my still life arrangements. I bought fake flooring and base molding, and made any props needed to give this a feel of being on the floor in the corner of the room.

After a week of arranging the stuff I felt the center of interest was weak. I needed a strong diagonal leading into the picture. The idea of using Red Pop just happened. I cut some red paper into a puddle shape to get a visual idea and it all started to fall into place.

This is a photo after my first day lay-in. I poured red pop on the table and painted it as quickly as I could as it would slowly run off the edge and out of the set up. I was spending too much time cleaning up red pop. I tried to level the floor but the pop would find a way to run away or just slowly evaporate.

I decided I needed a something that would give me the look of liquid but not move. I thought I could paint it on the floor, but color and transparency were an issue. I finally decided that I could use the recipe for fake blood: Corn syrup and food coloring. The recipe for red pop is not that different- it was just too wet. I mixed up my concoction and drizzled it in to place. I had to use a brush to mold and shape the puddle into shape. It eventually set up and I had my stationary puddle. The only issue was that it would get a skin on it over time and wrinkle. I would just brush water on it to flatten it out and reactivate the liquid appearance. 
I eventually had to scrape the corn syrup up and clean the area adding real red pop to the scene again to finish the painting. The spill was the most difficult area of the painting. I repainted it for a few days  till I was satisfied.

So this is the start of my new plan to blog more. If you follow this blog you know I have said that before, but this time I discovered there is this cool app on my phone that will remind me to post. Its called the calendar app, I highly recommend it.