Archive for the ‘2002’ Category

This is the photo of Shawn I decided to work from.

This is the photo of Shawn I decided to work from.

Today I began work in the studio determined to make another stab at a stylized piece. I did some drawing to warm up, performing Picassoesque dissections on my models. Those I threw away. Then I did a drawing of Shawn walking on the beach which was hardly distorted at all, but I liked it so much I mixed up some paints and painted over the drawing. That one turned out nicely (it’s great when you have no expectations!).

I begin by doing some pencil sketches. The one shown at left below is fairly close to what I’m going for, but it needs to be even more dramatic. Still, I think I’m warmed up enough to start the final drawing (the one that I will actually paint over when I start painting).

One of the preparatory pencil sketches, and on the right, beginning to lay in the colors over the purple wash.

One of the preparatory pencil sketches, and on the right, beginning to lay in the colors over the purple wash.

I’m using a fairly heavy bristol for this painting, which allows me to do a lot of erasing and re-drawing on the underdrawing, which is good, because I’m still working things out. I make the horizon line slant down toward the left at an even more extreme angle and make the figure even larger. I like the energy of the drawing at this point, so I paint a purple wash over the top of it and while that’s drying, I mix my colors.

Key colors, I’ve decided, will be browns, earth yellows, blues and cadmium red, which is a hot reddish-orange. I start laying in the color at the top right because I always like getting the terrain laid in first—because I’m not good at mountains, hills and the like, so I want to get that over with. Surprisingly, the dry Diamond Head Beach slopes turn out fairly well.

I stopped at this point to go work out.

I stopped at this point to go work out.

Now I lay in the colors of the body and some of the ocean and beach around it. I start realizing I’ve been lucky, because the colors I initially mixed are working very well, with very little alteration needed. The same is true for the underdrawing. It’s wonderful when everything falls into place like this. At this point the painting is going beautifully but I have to stop and go for my afternoon workout. I’m a little worried that I will lose my momentum, but I hate the thought of missing my workout even more. So I go off to the Y.

A couple of hours later I’m back, and excited to continue the painting. Again, luck is with me—the momentum is still there and my decisions and brushstrokes are still right on. I’m doing something here that I often enjoy: letting colors ‘bleed’ out of their assigned areas. Letting the colors of the body run into the sky, for instance, or running some of the blue of the sky inside a shoulder or leg. I can get away with this when I’m using black lines to define forms. In fact, the black lines are so heavy, so powerfully literal, I feel I need to allow the colors to ‘defy’ them here and there.

1057stumbling

The final painting, which I've entitled "Stumbling Up the Beach."

Torano in Kei & Dick's pool

Torano in Kei & Dick's pool

This morning Torano came by at 9 am and then I drove us out to Hawaii Kai to Kei and Dick’s house. They have a great house, up on a ridge overlooking the ocean and Hawaii Kai, with a nice secluded backyard, and a pool. It’s a great location for photo shoots, and they’re super-generous about letting me use it whenever I want.

Torano and bougainvillea near the pool

Torano and bougainvillea near the pool

I love African-American men, and I love Asian men, and Torano is such a juicy, pardon the expression, combination of the two. From the first time I saw him I thought, That’s one of my fantasy boys! And he still is. From some angles he looks very black, and then from some angles the Japanese side comes out. And from any angle, he looks good enough to eat.

So with a wonderful location, and a very hot brown boy to photograph, how could it fail to be a great photo shoot? Oh yeah—the camera worked fine! And I had brought my spare just in case. But didn’t need it. I also brought the digital camera so I could snap some candid shots during the photo shoot, to use in my diary.

Torano getting dressed after the photo shoot.

Torano getting dressed after the photo shoot.

I was also very lucky in that it was sunny, after several days of kind of grey, cloudy weather. So I got lots of shots of Torano in and around the pool, and lots of stuff where he’s beside, or under palm fronds or other tropical foliage with the sun shining through the leaves—that sort of thing. He looks great in a “jungle-y” setting. (As we all know from the drawing “Jungle Boy.”)

Torano by the pool, just before we left.

Torano by the pool, just before we left.

He also looks good wet, in a pool. And dry, beside a pool. And everywhere else! But Torano is insecure about his butt. He thinks it doesn’t look very good. I told him, well, I have several thousand people who will disagree with you. But he’s like most of us; our insecurities about our bodies are hard to dislodge. Still, I took some pictures during this photo session that will at least give him some visual evidence that he does have a great ass!

I shot a lot of film over three hours today, and when we drove back from Hawaii Kai, both Torano and I were exhausted. Focusing that intensely for that amount of time really wears you out. But it was worth it. I should have the slides back by the day after Thanksgiving and of course I’m eagerly anticipating starting to work from them.

Torano shot this photo of me at the end of our photo session.

Torano shot this photo of me at the end of our photo session.

First acrylic sketch I did after getting back from Sydney, entitled 'Red Shorts Yellow Sky'

First acrylic sketch I did after getting back from Sydney, entitled 'Red Shorts Yellow Sky'

I’ve been painting every morning. Jimmy or Kurt call to see if I’m going to come surfing with them, and I have to say, “No, this morning I have to paint!” I do manage to surf some afternoons. But painting has to come first. Especially in the morning hours, because that’s when I’m freshest and most in command of all my faculties, and painting, more than almost anything else I do, requires COMPLETE focus.

Because I’m just starting to paint again after some time off, I’m doing warm-ups. These are acrylic “sketches” on fairly lightweight paper. I like painting on paper. For one thing I like the lack of texture—the smooth surface—but I also like the fact that because it’s not on canvas, I can take it less seriously and be more free, bold and spontaneous. I know it’s just a mind trip but it works for me.

Acrylic sketch on paper, done with limited palette, entitled 'Shawn Standing Nude on Beach'

Acrylic sketch on paper, done with limited palette, entitled 'Shawn Standing Nude on Beach'

I’ve been painting with a limited palette on these acrylic sketches. For instance, on the one I did today (a frontal nude of Shawn standing in wet sand at the beach), I limited my palette to four colors and white: cadmium red, cadmium yellow, cobalt blue, and ultramarine blue. And I’m really pleased with the results—I think I successfully captured the light conditions of the scene, and thus the feeling of it.

I want to keep experimenting with a limited palette. It’s a nice challenge, plus with fewer colors you can be more sure the whole thing will hang together color-balance-wise. (And it doesn’t take 2 hours to mix all the colors before you get to start painting!)

Got up very early this morning (5:30 am) for the photo shoot with Shawn, the new model. (I met Shawn at the party I threw on October 5th. He came with a friend of mine. As soon as I saw him walk in, I thought, wow! He’d make a great model. He looks kind of Latin, but he turns out to be Native American. Beautiful face, gorgeous body.And he’s a really nice guy. Just moved to Hawaii from the Mainland. Seemed excited about modeling for me.

Sunrise at Diamond Head, with Shawn (left) and my friend and assistant, Jimmy, on the right.

Sunrise at Diamond Head, with Shawn (left) and my friend and assistant, Jimmy, on the right.

So at 6:30 am, Shawn showed up on my doorstep and we left for the beach. I had asked my surfing buddy Jimmy to be my assistant for this photo shoot, and he was waiting for us when we got there. We hiked down to the beach just as the sun was coming up. (I love the early morning light. It’s the best light you can get, with the exception of sunset light, which is also wonderful.)

An outtake from the early part of the photo session.

An outtake from the early part of the photo session.

Shawn looked incredible in the early-morning beach light. Very muscular, defined, and handsome. A beautiful man, very easy-going and pleasant to be around, and a pleasure to photograph. I started by having him do some stretches on the beach. Jimmy was a terrific assistant, keeping a watch for people coming up or down the beach, and feeding me props, film, etc., as it was needed.

Shawn (left) and Jimmy (right) just before the camera started acting up.

Shawn (left) and Jimmy (right) just before the camera started acting up.

Then, after about 6 rolls of film, the camera (my Canon EOS) started acting up. And I hadn’t brought my backup camera with me. Tried and tried to get the thing to work but it was jammed and the film wouldn’t advance. Damn! And the light was just perfect. So, very reluctantly, we put our things in our backpacks—and Shawn put on his clothes—and we hiked back up to the cars and drove back to my apartment.

—where I checked the manual, and figured out how to fix the camera. It seemed to be a minor problem. So we shot a test roll out on the deck in the bright morning light and everything seemed fine. We decided to go back to the beach (it’s only a 10-minute drive from home) and try again. Jimmy suggested we bring the backup camera (the Olympus) this time, though, just in case.

Shawn looking gorgeous in the early-morning light at Diamond Head Beach.

Shawn looking gorgeous in the early-morning light at Diamond Head Beach.

Good thing he did. As soon as we got back to the beach the Canon started acting up again and then wouldn’t work at all. Thank goodness Jimmy had his act more together than I did. I guess that’s kind of the definition of a good assistant. They protect you from yourself.

So I shot the next 10 rolls of film with my little Olympus. (Not as flexible a camera as the Canon but in a pinch it works fine.) We did some more beach shots, then picked up and moved over a few hundred feet to a greenery-covered wall that looked promising.

All things considered, it was a pretty good shoot, in spite of the camera problems. I know I got some good shots of Shawn running, jumping, standing and stretching on the beach and in the water, and some of the shots by the greenery-covered wall should be really nice. I’m looking forward to getting the slides back.

UPDATE to this post:

In April 2012 I produced an e-book of uncensored Shawn photographs. You can view it and purchase it for instant download here.