A few years ago, Joyce’s sister was getting married and she had asked me to paint a portrait for her and her future brother-in-law. Due to a few unforeseen circumstances and being that I was still working full-time, I was unable to get that project started in time.
Now that Joyce is soon approaching her wedding day, she commissioned me to paint her a wedding portrait that she could present to her fiance, Charles, as a surprise birthday gift as soon as they return from their Hawaiian wedding. I was more than honored to take on the task because I think Joyce gets why this is important; she wants something that she and her husband can look at for years to come.
I decided to create another Timelapse Video combined with footage I shot of my art studio, unmasking the finished art piece, and – my favorite part – the final reveal to Joyce.
I’ve known Mo for over a decade and over the years I’ve had the privilege to see some of his work. More recently, I saw his airbrush paintings of wedding portraits he had done for some of our friends (including his own).
When it came time to decide on a wedding/birthday gift for my fiance, the idea of asking Mo to create one of his timeless pieces was on the top of my list. Mo is truly talented and his ability to capture every fine detail and human emotion through the airbrush is amazing.
I gave Mo one of my favorite pictures of me and my fiance. It was one of those candid shots I thought would look sweet in a black and white painting. I was confident that Mo would do great work but I was in complete and utter awe when he revealed the final product. The painting looked like a replica of the actual picture, yet more beautiful and personal. He was somehow able to add so much depth to the picture. His attention to every tiny detail like how the sun reflected off our faces and my reflection in my fiance’s sunglasses was mind blowing.
I am so excited to give the painting to my fiance and have it hanging in our place. Knowing that it was done by a dear friend will make it that much more special when we look at it everyday for the rest of our lives. Thanks Mo! – Joyce
After studying and admiring A. D. Cook’s work, I decided to try his canvas preparation technique on Joyce and Charlie’s Wedding Portrait. This entails several, thin layers of gesso that has to be carefully and sanded to a smooth finish.
Liquitex’s non-Basic line of gesso both had good reviews on Amazon and was reasonably priced.
The first day I poured the gesso on the canvas and spread it around using a flat plastic spatula that’s used to apply vinyl graphics. I had to allow the gesso to thoroughly dry before applying the successive coats.
Here you can see that the canvas texture is beginning to “fade” into the background. The goal is to apply gesso until most of the texture disappears.
On the second day, I felt that the canvas needed a few more coats. This time I applied the gesso vertically, and this way I could see the spots I missed the day before. Plus being inside the garage, the gesso didn’t dry as quickly so I could spread it around more evenly. Afterwards I wet-sanded the canvas down to smooth finish by using sandpaper that was soaked in soapy water for 15 minutes.
Again, top gesso’ed canvas smooth texture vs bottom stock canvas regular texture.
This is what the gesso’ed canvas texture looks like (top) compared to a stock canvas (bottom).
Joyce sent me several photos to choose from, but we decided on this particular one since it candidly captured a moment between them when they were at a beach gathering for church.
Joyce wanted a black and white classic style portrait so I sent the photo into Aperture 3, tweaked the black and white adjustment, and added a vignette to preview the final result that I was aiming for. I sent this to Joyce for her final approval before I started airbrushing.
The final outcome. I added a “matte” around the painting to simulate a black and white print.
Detail of Joyce and Charle’s faces.
Detail of Charles. See Joyce’s reflection in his sunglasses.
Detail of Joyce. Notice how her hair flows “outside” of the painted matte.
My stamp of approval.
Another happy client! See the timelapse video and Joyce’s reveal reaction.
I’ve had a pretty good excuse as to why my site hasn’t been updated in 18 months – I got married! Being the creative type, I wanted to do something special to commemorate our special day, so I decided to stay up a few nights to make this piece that I later used in the slideshow that I also produced.
I had my Canon G9 setup on a Gorillapod in various positions to focus on the specific areas I was working on that night. I also used my Nikon D90 with a remote and shot photos throughout the painting process without my body intruding on the canvas.
Since I wasn’t visible in the photos, the resulting timelapse video appeared as if the painting, painted itself. You’ll know what I mean towards the second half of the video.
I used images from my engagement shoot by Harrison Long Photography. I converted the source photo into a sepia tone, adjusted some of the tones, and cropped the image to my liking. This is a piece for myself and my new wife.
Here is the edited footage of the timelapse video I produced and edited during the making of Bobo’s Pet Portrait.
I had a Canon G9 set up on a Gorillapod and also on my Manfrotto 190XDB tripod to shoot one shot every minute using the intervalometer in the CHDK firmware. I changed the angle at the beginning of every session to change up the viewing angles to make the video have more visual appeal.
I also used my Nikon D90 with a 50mm f1.8 lens set up on the Manfrotto tripod to shoot the movies used in the introduction and towards the ending of the video.
I gave iMovie ’09 the benefit of the doubt to edit the footage I captured, however I had many nagging issues with its stability while I was editing. Rebooting proved to settle most of the issues, but what Macbook Pro owner reboots their Mac? Anyhow, the editing experience went smoothly after the rough start, and the learning curve was much smaller than I had anticipated (coming from a background using iMovie 06 HD, Adobe Premiere, and Final Cut).
I also used Aperture 3 to edit the photos. I was hoping to use A3 to edit this together using its new video feature, but I found it too lacking when it came down to editing the video clips from my Canon G9 or the Nikon D90.
I intend to do this for the more of my future art projects. While I usually enjoy watching timelapse projects, I’ve also found that directing, editing, and piecing together videos and still images has been very rewarding.
Some people love their pets enough to immortalize them in a painting. My mother is one of these people!
Bobo has been our family dog since 1998 when my mother found him at the local Petco after scouring for months for a suitable, household companion. This was the first small dog that we ever owned, and he’s been the best pet we’ve had since the first day.
I’ve done 3 other paintings of Bobo over the years, and none have made the cut in my mother’s eye, who can be my toughest critic (out of love of course). I took some photos with my Canon G9 a few years ago and assembled a book for her, and she chose this calm and sleepy photo of Bobo to be painted and hung over her fireplace.