Watchful Eye, 2014
16” x 16” x 1.5”
Detail from the Grizzly Bear Father Totem.
After completing the Sea Bear painting, I wanted to try a smaller canvas, in the hope that it would be quicker to produce, and by doing so, become an alternative for people who either don’t have the space or the finances to purchase a full sized painting.
I chose a 16”x16” canvas and then began going through my library of images through that cropping viewer; easier said then done. I didn’t want to just reduce an image to fit as that would go against the criteria of bringing people closer and not further from the totem. I knew that it had to include the all important eye, so it had to be a strong composition including a bit of the immediately surrounding area to the eye. I settled on the selection from the Grizzly Bear Father totem at UBC MOA. It includes a bit of the upper cheek and nostril, giving a good ‘facet’ of the totem, complete onto itself.
Because of the tight focus, I found that, instead of being able to save time, the detail became more important. The undertones and the aging of the wood were more pronounced in a close-up.
Again the base colour was a mid gray (other then black for the eyebrow, pupil of the eye, and red areas). The white around the eye involved numerous very thin layers to bring out the white while maintaining the wood patinas showing through the aging paint. Remember that my technique for this series is the use of my finger tips, and controlling how much water I use in the paint. I did find that acrylic paint is very forgiving in how much water you use, unlike watercolours. I was nervous when it came time to varnishing, hoping that the colour wouldn't bleed when applying the varnish. The key is to work fast and not overwork the varnish. Get it down and let it dry. The second coat is no problem.
*Note: I only use the Golden Satin varnish as I don’t want any sheen for the totems.
In the end, I found that the time to produce this size of painting wasn’t a huge time saver. When applying the hours and costs on the price setting formula that I use, it still came out more then I was aiming for. I didn’t want to create a painting, which didn’t have the same level of detail and realism as seen within the rest of the series. So I had to undercut the end price for this one to better reflect what people would expect with the size difference. I enjoyed working this size of canvas and such a tight focus on a detail of a totem, but isn't as cost effective as I had hoped.
Owned by Luc and Ela Brunel, Calgary AB