Normally I would struggle to determine a topic to write about. Looking over my previous post, I wondered why I wasn’t very prolific during the last quarters of the year. I actually forgot to count the erotic paintings. I did another pinup for Hustler at the end of the summer. To ride the wave of enthusiasm over the release of The Avengers, Rebecca, my editor at Hustler thought it would be fun to paint an erotic superhero piece. The first layout took a while to get approved. LFP had to have their legal department investigate so they wouldn’t be sued by Marvel/Disney and DC/Warner Brothers. After 2 weeks, they required some revisions…obviously, Wonder Woman, Captain America, Batman and Electra were too identifiable. I resubmitted another drawing. Using faulty judgement, I commenced painting the new sketch before I got any feedback. I was almost finished with the art when my editor reported that Bruce, the Editor-in-Chief, wanted me to proceed with the original. In the end, I think everyone was happy.
Here is a snippet of the top and bottom. I will let your imagination fill in the rest or you can locate the issue of Hustler. I stopped buying issues of Hustler that contained my artwork years ago. I don’t know what issue it was in.
In September, my art was in the San Francisco Erotic Art Exhibit. I personally didn’t attend since I had to do an emergency graphic design freelance job in Los Angeles, but I sent along 2 oil paintings I created for the event and 6 metal prints of my digital art. It had been years since I did an oil painting, so I was eager to get back into some analog artwork. I decided to create a series of male erotic paintings called Super Heroes Undressed. They would be in different stages of undress and dress while suiting up. I thought it was a novel idea. I executed 2 paintings 2′ x 3′. The first one, Batman, with a noticeable hard-on, was painted alla prima. I had to reacquaint myself with the medium and I spent a lot of time and energy mixing blends. The old masters would separate their painting technique by doing an underpainting in light and shadows and then add colored glazes afterwards. Painting wet-on-wet or all at once forced you to mix the correct color and value. I didn’t have a disciplined temperament, I didn’t mix all the colors before hand on the palette. I kind of mixed them on my canvas as I went along, (hence digital art was my choice of medium, no pre-mixing of colors, no smell and toxic fumes, no asthma, and no messy cleanup.)
Artists in the old days did not use petroleum distillates to thin their paints or clean their brushes. This is a modern day invention and super toxic. At one point, I tried to dispense with these nasty chemicals all together (since they played havoc on my asthma…which turned me into wheezing girl during kung fu), and use pure walnut oil. I even used the oil to clean my brushes, but that just extended my clean up time and was ineffective in removing paint. I had to use a lot of soap afterwards. Begrudgingly, I returned to my glazing mediums (Gamblin’s Megilp and Galkyd Lite) and tried to use turpenoid (supposedly nontoxic) and old fashioned brush soap to clean my brushes. Turpenoid was a horrible medium to thin your paints with during painting. I think it never dried on the canvas. But I digress, I tried to build a lot of textures using the Olepasto Impasto Medium, especially in the background of my Batman painting in lieu of having to actually paint a background. I also used the Krylon Quick Dry for Oil Paintings Spray in between sittings to dry the surface, which made it easier to work the next day.
Here is a closeup. You can see the textures better. This is what I miss about traditional vs digital…the physical textures, which can impede your details. I have to fight the texture of the canvas to get small, sharp details…while painting I kept thinking about having an undo button!
For the second painting, I decided to depict Spiderman. He was not my first choice since I wanted to use Chris Evans from Captain America. The problem in painting Captain America in a stage of undress was unless he had his helmet on, bits of his costume such as pants and belt were unrecognizable. I thought about putting his shield in the background, but that seemed lame. Spiderman was a better candidate since the webbing on his blue and red costume were easily identifiable. I decided I would go with Chris Evans’s likeness, yes I liked pretty boys!
I also thought I would use a more refined technique and do an underpainting in burnt umber tones and glaze on top. I would not jump into oils right away, but do the initial painting in acrylics. I discovered Golden’s Open Acrylics. Normal acrylic paint dried very quickly and made blending difficult. Open Acrylics have a slower drying time, which allowed smoother blends. All I needed was Burnt Umber, Black, White and Gray. I actually didn’t need the latter, but I was lazy. I didn’t have to invest in a whole palette of colors. I cannot rave enough about the wonders of Golden’s Open Acrylics. They were marvelous! By the next day, all the acrylics have dried. I even experimented with the different textures of sand, glass beads, impasto effects that Golden and Liquitex have in their line of Acrylic Gel, Fluid and Effect Mediums. You could have a field day with the variety! Glazing over the acrylic underpainting was very easy and the oils adhered to it very well, after all, gesso was acrylic.
Here is the Spiderman painting and I am quite satisfied with the results. The blends on his flesh are quite smooth and the paint thin. This formed a nice contrast to the hills and valleys of the background.
Here is a closeup of the textures:
To top off my gallery wall, I had 6 of my digital paintings reproduced as Metal Prints. Printing on aluminum as a substrate sounded very appealing to me. I watched several youtube videos on do-it-yourself methods, but decided on a professional service. It precluded expensive framing and matting since metal prints can be made mounted and ready to hang. I went to Bay Photo after investigating the web about metal prints. I’m not sure they had the best pricing, but I was eager to see my art on metal. Metal Prints were purported to be archival and come in four different finishes, High Gloss, Satin, Sheer (with a Glossy or Matte Finish). The sheer allowed you to see the surface of the metal in the light areas of the print. There would be no white or light colors, just the metal. After printing samples of all four surfaces, High Gloss and Satin did not show any surprising differences than being printed on paper. There was a slight raised gloss that was visible above the dyed surface of the metal High Gloss print. The surface appeared more durable. Here the word was “appeared.” The products from Bay Photo looked great at first inspection. I had 12″x16″ prints made. Two mounted with a frame backing and four on a suspended block for framing. I had the corners rounded off to avoid people inadvertently cutting themselves. Here are photos of the backing treatments. The latter one was cheaper, but definitely felt flimsy in quality.
I signed all the prints and re-packaged them to ship to San Francisco. Unfortunately, nothing sold and the curator returned my work. After opening the package and inspecting the metal prints, 3 out of the 6 were chipped! Two of them at the rounded corners and didn’t look too horrible, but one was chipped at the edge about 3 inches from the bottom and it was the one with the expensive frame mounting. I was infuriated! I spent almost $500 on printing those on metal and the gallery didn’t have the gall to admit the prints were damaged!
I will put the metal prints for sale on Ebay and try to sell the chipped ones at a discount. So my advice about pursuing metal prints is don’t bother. Spend the extra money for high quality framing and matting of your paper prints. Metal prints are too fragile for the day to day handling of a gallery exhibit. If it’s for personal use, then by all means.
In closing, I will include an erotic painting I did to submit to 12 Inches of Sin for the Sin City Gallery in Las Vegas. Octopus Boy didn’t make it into the exhibit. I’m not sure if it’s the subject matter (I did do a search for man and octopus in a sexual content and came up with nothing. The subject was more prevalent with Japanese female pearl divers and our 8-legged friends.) Perhaps it didn’t look finished. I need to go back and noodle it some more. It was a two-day oil painting and the 1′ x 1′ foot size made it difficult to add minute details. Another idea I had was to scan it into the computer and go to town with Photoshop. Maybe it’s me with my twisted humor, but I think the idea of Octopus Boy is funny! I should paint more along those lines!
To see more art by sandra chang, visit her website!