Painting “Rebirth” (Time Lapse Video)

June 29th, 2017

As I grow and mature I realize how there is a little bit of all of us in each of us.

This really shows in this painting time lapse video of “Rebirth.” On the surface, it is an abstract sunrise (or sunset). But when you dig deeper you see how all the colors are connected to each other. Likewise, we are all connected to each other.

Texture and Depth

One of the things I find most interesting when I paint is the development of texture and luminosity by layering paint. This literally gives the canvas depth.

Originally this painting was going to start with a purple base, but I decided to go with a light orange. I built on that to develop a sort of sunrise/sunset mood, playing up a blue-and-orange color contrast. These seem to be common themes for me lately.

Getting Bold

The more I paint, the more I find myself getting bolder. For a long time I avoided colors like black and green. Now I embrace them and allow them to shape the canvas. I tend to put down black (or very dark gray) and then build the colors on top of that.

I suppose in a way it is a throwback to the Renaissance grisaille method, where colors are glazed on top of a gray painting. This ensures strong values and tight composition before color even goes on the canvas.

Back Up

I had already added my signature when I realized it needed something to tie the entire canvas together. So I added splatters in white, green, and orange. That way there is a little bit of those colors throughout, and not confined to one area.

It reminds me that there is a little bit of all of us in each of us.

Everything is connected.

Brad Blackman - Rebirth, 2017. acrylic on canvas, 8 x 8 inches

Rebirth, 2017 Acrylic on canvas, 8 x 8 inches

Painting Heaven Meets Earth (Time-Lapse Video)

June 22nd, 2017

For the past year or so I’ve experimented with painting in a gold, white, and brown palette. Metallic gold is really different for me, so it certainly adds a new dimension to my work.

Starting the Gold Swoop Painting

I wanted to do something with swooping, semi-circular forms, so I started with an all-brown canvas and blocked in some white swoops. Once that dried I painted over all that with gold.

The gold was too much!

I was reminded of Henri Matisse who said that “a thimbleful of red is redder than a bucketful.”

In other words, a little bit of color can be far more effective than flooding the whole thing. Restraint is powerful.

(Don’t see the video? Click here.)

So I scaled back the gold and wound up with something that made me think of a landscape seen through a fisheye lens. As the painting progressed, the top part felt like sky and the bottom felt like ground. The sky and earth were meeting at this curved horizon and something special was happening here.

It brought to my mind the line “so heaven meets earth in a sloppy wet kiss” from “How He Loves” (the Jesus Culture version.)

This painting taught me to be open to change and to not be afraid to put everything out there and then scale back. There’s always a sense of surging and retreating when I paint.

Life is no different.

BradBlackman - "Heaven Meets Earth" 2017. Acrylic on canvas, 8 x 8 inches

Heaven Meets Earth 2017. Acrylic on canvas, 8 x 8 inches

Painting Video: The Battle of Hoth (Star Wars)

June 16th, 2015

A long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…

A man in the snowy suburbs of Chicago reached out to an artist in Nashville. He had a space on his walls that desperately needed some art. This man asked our brave artist to create a painting based on something from Star Wars. The artist chose to depict the famous battle scene on the snow planet Hoth, seen in Episode V — The Empire Strikes Back.

A battle between Snow Speeders and AT-ATs.

Our brave artist created a video while he worked. Now you can see it too!

(Can’t see the video? Watch it on YouTube.)

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(Video) Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with A Green Painting

March 17th, 2015

Saint Patrick is the primary patron saint of Ireland, who was a missionary there in the second half of the fifth century. There is a lot of legend and lore surrounding him, most notably that he drove snakes out of Ireland and that he used the Shamrock to illustrate the concept of the Trinity to Irish pagans. As a teenager he was kidnapped by Irish pirates and forced to work as a shepherd but he eventually escaped back to Britain. Later he went back to Ireland as a missionary, and that turned out to be his life’s work.

St. Patrick’s Day

From what I can tell about the March 17 celebration of St. Patrick’s Day is it is an excuse to drink beer during the Lenten period. The consumption of alcohol and meat is typically forbidden during this time of fasting. So in the middle of Lent, there’s a feast to enjoy some meat and booze. (Anybody want to verify that for me? I’ve done a little checking around, and so far I think I’m pretty much on track.)

Since shamrocks are green, and Ireland itself is remarkably green, people traditionally wear green clothing on St. Patrick’s Day.

So with all that in mind, I set out to make a green painting just in time for St. Patrick’s Day. I’ve put together a time-lapse video. If you enjoyed it, please share it with a Tweet or a Facebook post. Thanks!

Step-by-Step: How I Painted This

  1. I started with an all-pink canvas inspired by a dream I had. I know that sounds weird, since pink isn’t a color I typically use (and neither is green). But it looked all right in my dream so I figured I’d give it a try.
  2. Then I added yellow masses, dripping them onto the canvas the way I’ve been doing lately.
  3. Once the yellow dried, I spread emerald green on the canvas with a painting knife. I used a large, wet brush to spread it further, wiping up excess paint so the pink and yellow can “bleed” through. The pink takes on a purplish tone in some spots.
  4. Once that was dry, I gave it a horizon line with dark green and built it up into a mass. I love painting light colors on top of dark colors since it gives it a certain luminosity. Light seems brighter in the midst of darkness.
  5. Next, I lightened up the portion on the smaller side of the “horizon.”
  6. The horizon is too high on the canvas, and the whole thing feels flat, so I took the painting knife and added a bright red-and-orange band between the light and dark areas.
  7. Now it is clear the orange needs to be more prominent. The pink is virtually nonexistent now, and that’s okay. As it turns out, is a story about green and orange. A little dark purple gives it some depth.
  8. Finally, I just kept pushing the light and dark areas and the bright and dull areas until I got it where I wanted it. My goal was to make it green. Accenting that with a complementary red-orange brings it to a new level

This is one of those pieces I could probably keep pushing for a long time, experimenting to see where it “wants” to go. It was fun pushing myself to use a completely different color scheme and painting technique than I’m used to!