Saturday, September 3, 2011

This is Dragin'

I am working on a pretty big commission for Demolay International. As it is my first attempt at large scale imaginative paintings of this type. It has already proven to be quite a learning experience. I am to do three paintings, each 3' x 2', of a Demolay fantasy world with themes important to the organization. The paintings will be hung in their headquarters in Kansas City. The images will be used in an international marketing campaign to attract new members: posters, fliers, and ads. If you are unfamiliar with this organization it's a boys club modeled after the Freemasons. They are named after the last Grandmaster of the Knights Templar, Jacques DeMolay. The group use their namesake as an example of loyalty, of courage. They aspire to these "themes of knighthood and chivalry, fidelity and toleration."
In the paintings I will be representing those themes- in addition to all the super secret symbolism. After a long process of compositional sketches, we settled on the final three images and they have been approved by the organization. I will spend the next 9 or so months finishing these paintings.

As I have mentioned in a previous post, the first step was to collect or build some costuming and props.
I did most of the sketches out of my head, doing a lot of it directly in photoshop.
I am only posting  one of the sketches as the others have already changed and are not ready yet.
I had the brother of a friend get all dressed up in the Templar outfit and take some poses. He did a great job posing. A lot of the stiffness in the sketch was worked out and I tried a lot of different positions and foot work. Note, the final image will not contain Adidas flip flops.
His face has been blurred for his protection. While I think it is pretty cool, a photo like this could result in getting a wedgie at school.

From the photos I began a full size charcoal drawing to work out any final issues with drawing and composition. When completed I will transfer this to the canvas and begin painting. Here is an action shot of me at work.
Below is the charcoal drawing so far. The most tricky and worrisome part of the project is that I will be placing faces of select members of the Demolay and related groups in to the work. Jack, who is seen posing in the photo above will not have his face painted in the final image. A national casting call went out through the Demolay organization for models to play these parts. I have a feeling this is going to be the tricky part of this whole project as I do not have complete control over the photo references I will be receiving photos from 20 different people. Honestly, it could be a nightmare, but I will do the best I can. So far the project has been a lot of fun.
Look for more updates on this project coming soon.