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The Art Geek

Thoughts on technique, experiments with new ways of working, works in progress, or general ramblings. Much of the material posted here relates to SketchUp, to painting in various media, and to drawing. Your mileage may vary. Enjoy!

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Sunday, April 17 2011 4:36 p.m. UTC

... happy that the local figure drawing group has started up again.

Sketches on Kimodesk

Graphite Transfers

Monday, April 11 2011 9:55 p.m. UTC

This is my first blog post in awhile. After going to the Pole, I got obsessed with photography for awhile, then obsessed with programming and cleaning up some old/crufty code at work, then obsessed with, well, not being obsessed.

This weekend I started painting again on a large canvas my friend Judy gave me, and made a pleasant discovery. I have been working with drawings and photos on Kimodesk transparent film on the canvas, cutting things out and rearranging them. One thing that has stymied me until now has been how to transfer such an arrangement to the canvas (I am not against gluing down the Kimodesk and painting on top of that, but it doesn’t always provide the surface I want). The traditional grid-and-transfer method is time consuming and sometimes irritating. Transferring photos is a great way to work, but to use that technique requires photographing or scanning drawings before they can be printed out and glued face down on the paintings and the paper backing removed.

Or so I thought until last weekend, until I tried the following simple procedure, which worked beautifully:

1. Start with some sort of drawing, arrived at by combining transparencies or some other way
2. Use a light box to transfer the image, flipped upside down; trace the drawing IN REVERSE (mirror image) in graphite on a new sheet of paper
3. Glue the paper face down on the painting surface (thereby turning it right side up) using acrylic matte medium
4. Allow to dry overnight
5. Remove the paper with the usual method (soak off, abrade w/ moist sponge, etc.)
6. Paint into the image. If you use acrylics, you can repeat this procedure ad infinitum.

The (reversed) pencil drawing seems to transfer with perfect fidelity. Skipping the tracing step and gluing an existing drawing down on panel, then removing the paper, ought to also work just fine. Your mileage may vary.

Simple before/after test image: source Kemodesk Image transferred to wooden panel using the graphite transfer method.

After noodling around with Golden Open acrylics on top of the transfer:


Sunday, Dec. 19 2010 2:29 p.m. UTC

Whether in preparation for my coming South Pole trip, or just the seasonal blowing of the winds of my interests, I’ve been taking lots of photos lately and upgrading my blog software to use Flickr to host images (the new iPhoto on the Mac makes sync’ing with Flickr insanely easy, and reduces the footprint on my server).

I seem to enjoy photography more in the winter, and tend to go out wandering in the morning to nearby Promontory Point.

I got a new camera this week — a Canon PowerShot S95 (test shots here) and love it so far, in particular the “miniature mode” (used for the last two shots, above).

More Problem Solving

Saturday, Nov. 6 2010 6:30 p.m. UTC

An image sequence putting this idea into practice. I wanted an airborne mechanical shape which would graphically connect the burning building shape with the aircraft.

Original state of painting

Mockup in SketchUp

Overlay for image transfer

Current state of painting


Today’s discovery is that nib pens and ink work on top of water-soluble oils, even when the paint is wet. I am always looking for ways to combine drawing and painting, since I tend to “think” better through drawing.

Compositing 2D and 3D

Sunday, Oct. 31 2010 10:43 p.m. UTC

Test image, putting 3D images onto a 2D scene with SketchUp

I have been curious about how to make adjustments to paintings or drawings, by adding 3D objects which might otherwise be hard to invent and/or draw. The question boils down to how to 'composite’ 3D objects into a 2D scan or photo of an existing work.

It turns out the 'place photo’ option in SketchUp (Import… -> JPG or PNG / 'Use as matched photo’) works like a charm for this. (You can align the perspective of a given view in your model to that of your imported image, though that doesn’t really apply for this image.)

Once the 3D modeling is complete, just remove the background image and do an image transfer of the contents, or project or otherwise draw them directly on the painting. The new “Open” acrylics are a perfect match to this approach, since once can draw or transfer photos much more easily on top of acrylics than onto oils.

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