Friday, May 16, 2008

Painting portraits...

Did you know that YouTube is full of clips about learning to paint with most known painting techniques? Well I didn't. There are buckets of them. All sorts of people expose themselves by showing off how to hold the brush and how to stroke the canvas, how to combine colors, paint highlights and shadows, use the charcoal, paint graffiti and doing portraits with airbrush... Nothing interesting from an artistic point of view really, just a plain wonderful pastime for amateur painters like myself.

The part that is quite funny though is that most of those folks 'teaching' you the intricacies of the painting skill, all but a few call themselves artists... it's a scream! I mean, you should see some of their work for crying out loud! Anyways.

The thing that I liked though was the fact that many among those exhibitionists (!) recorded their work with time lapse cameras and it was cute to see a painting taking shape and form in a matter of seconds whereas it normally takes a painter quite a few hours to complete a work (if not days...). I liked that trick and decided to do the same. Started calculating like this. Suppose a painting takes you 4 hours to complete (c'mon, it doesn't need to be a Roy Lichtenstein or a Caravaggio!), then 4 hours contains 4x3600 secs or 14400 secs. A normal clip in PAL plays back 25 frames a sec; suppose you shot a frame with time lapse every 5th second, then that would give you a total of 14400/5=2880 frames or (/25) 115.2 seconds of video clip; that's just a heartbeat shy of 2 minutes. If you shot every 3 secs a frame in time lapse then you'd get a descent clip of 3.5 min. Problem is, when you start painting, you never know how long it'll take you to finish. You may even never finish it... happened to me often. I got fed up in the middle and the thing stayed there half finished for years (for ever in some cases).

Anyways, I'd give it a try. I took a recent photograph of mine, copied it on an wooden base that I had prepared for painting a Russian icon, set up my Canon 40D, connected it to my MBP and there I started the experiment. Long story short... experiment failed. I managed to finish it in less than three hours but I screwed up the recording and ended up with a few thousand shots of the back of my head. Anyways, next time better. In the meantime, you can 'admire' the masterpiece (R U havin' a laugh?) here above. Click on it for more detail. Don't queue up on my doorstep though... Not for sale! ;-)

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