Posts Tagged ‘Marcus’

(For more info on “Simonson On Location” see the previous blog entries, Creating Simonson On Location, Parts 1, 2 and 3)

After 3 months of preparation and work, Simonson On Location is finally online!

I finally got to send out the e-mail announcing Simonson On Location’s debut on June 1st. It was exciting to watch the subscriptions start coming in. You may already have subscribed. If you haven’t yet, you can do so by clicking here: Simonson On Location

Or keep reading to get more information on what you’ll find once you do subscribe!

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We added a white 'storybox' to make it easier to read the story of each photo shoot.

One of the things that changed in the final days before we went online is the way I present my storyline for each photo shoot. I wasn’t happy with how hard it was to read the stories: the type was too small, plus it was black type on a dark blue background—way too hard to read. So I worked with Mitch to create a vertical white “story box” running along the left side of the first page of each gallery. As you can see from the screen shot above, it’s now an inviting, easy-to-read design.

We made a lot of other small changes too, but the version of Simonson On Location that’s now online is pretty close to the screen shots I showed you in Parts 1, 2 and 3 of the “Creating Simonson On Location” blog entries.

Pricing is $14.95 per month to become a regular subscriber, or $24.95 if you’d like to subscribe for just one month with no automatic renewal.

WHAT’S IN THE LINEUP, EXACTLY?

We went online with about just under 3,000 photographs in 53 galleries, spread over 14 different models. Here’s the lineup, in case you’d like to know the details before you make the leap and subscribe to the site:

BAIANO: 2 galleries, total 88 photos. Baiano Gallery 3 will go online June 15 with another 42 photos. This is the story of how I found and photographed Baiano in a little Brazilian surf town.

BRUNO: 5 galleries, total 278 photos. How I took Bruno to a nude beach south of Rio de Janeiro for a photo shoot, and found out I had to get naked too!

EDUARDO: 3 galleries, total 153 photos. Eduardo Gallery 4 will go online June 15 with another 122 photos. All about how I met Eduardo at a little cafe in Rio, then photographed him in the nude on the veranda of my 12th-floor Rio apartment.

ISRAEL-WELLINGTON: 5 galleries, total 251 photos. The story of how I found two models in Salvador, Brazil, and our trek to a deserted beach 3 hours north of the city.

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Since I shoot at least 1000 photos on most of my photo shoots, each photoshoot on the website will end up with between 10 and 20 galleries when I've finished telling the story. I'll be putting up additional galleries every 2 weeks.

JEFF: 4 galleries, total 226 photos. How I met and photographed mischievous Asian boy Jeff at my Waikiki apartment in late 2009.

JORGE: 3 galleries, total 134 photos. How Dominican-Nicaraguan hunk Jorge and I dodged a storm and wound up having a wonderful photo shoot at Diamond Head Beach at dawn.

KAIMANA: 3 galleries, total 171 photos. How I took Kaimana to a secluded Oahu beach and had him go surfing naked.

KAINOA: 3 galleries, total 197 photos. All about my backyard-pool photo shoot with gorgeous Hawaii local boy Kainoa.

MARCELINO: 4 galleries, total 189 photos. The story of my California photo shoot with cute Mexican boy Marcelino.

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Keep in mind this is just the beginning of the story; over the next several months there will be an additional 10 to 15 more galleries added for each model, to tell the story of the whole photo shoot.

MARCUS: 4 galleries, total 185 photos. Marcus Gallery 5 goes online June 15 with another 75 photos. The story of my very first photo shoot with Marcus on a deserted beach in Angra dos Reis, Brazil.

MARCUS-SANDRO: 4 galleries, total 202 photos. All about our wild weekend with the Brazilian Boat Boys, Marcus and Sandro, among the many islands of Brazil’s beautiful Costa Verde.

NOHEA: 4 galleries, total 217 photos. How I took a beautiful jewel (Hawaiian boy Nohea) and placed him in a beautiful setting (a backyard jungle with pool).

TOMMY: 3 galleries, total 144 photos. How I met tall, beautiful, dark-skinned Tommy and took him to Diamond Head Beach at dawn to capture a series of stunning images.

VICTOR: 3 galleries, total 216 photos. How I met Nigerian-born Marine Victor and photographed him in two gorgeous Hawaiian settings in one day.

So that’s the lineup as of the first week of Simonson On Location’s debut. As I said above, there are now nearly 3,000 photos, and more will be added every 2 weeks from now on. Join now and watch the stories as they unfold! Here’s the link: Simonson On Location

(For more info on “Simonson On Location” see the previous blog entries, Creating Simonson On Location, Parts 1 and 2)


Things are heating up! We’re just a few days from going live with Simonson On Location. Mitch (my webmaster) and I have been meeting almost every day as we get closer to the release date. There’s still so much to do.

I built my first website years ago (1995, actually) but these days I’m really glad to have a webmaster, especially one like Mitch who knows his stuff—and thinks about all those little details that you have to think about. I’m talking about the kind of details that guarantee that when you click on that link, the website WILL charge your credit card and let you in! AND that it’s an absolutely secure encoded transaction! There’s a whole lot of work that goes into setting something like that up.

So I’m glad he’s doing that, and I can focus on what I’m good at. Which right now consists of going through thousands of male-nude photographs and putting them together so they’re not only fun to look at, but they tell a story, too.

One of the groups of photographs I’ve been working on is the series of photo shoots I did in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil in April 2007. This is a particularly interesting group of photographs because there are lots of stories to tell. We had many adventures during that trip, from spending days and days looking for models with no luck and then having two models just fall into our laps in one afternoon, to getting lost in the wilds of Bahia looking for a very hard-to-find location, to my two new models doing naked capoeira on the beach!

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Here's a preview of one of the Israel-Wellington galleries. This is the part where they were doing naked capoeira on the beach.

There are lots of other stories I’m reliving, too, including my photo shoot with Hawaiian boy Nohea; Dominican-Nicaraguan Antonio, whom I photographed at Diamond Head Beach one morning as a huge storm approached; Kaimana playing the nude surfer on a Hawaiian beach; Marcus and Sandro on a deserted island south of Rio de Janeiro…and many more!

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This is a small part of the Nohea galleries you'll soon be enjoying on Simonson On Location.

Each model has several galleries, or photosets, to tell the story of his photo shoot. When Simonson On Location first goes online, there’ll be 12-14 models, and each model will have 3 to 5 galleries, which usually amounts to 150-250 individual photographs. Then every couple of weeks or so, I’ll add more galleries until each model’s entire photo shoot is online.

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Here's a sample page from my photo shoot with nude surfer Kaimana.

And of course as I work with new models, or do additional photo shoots with existing models, those new photosets will appear on Simonson On Location as well.

Mitch told me today that there are just a few more issues he needs to resolve on the website before we can go live, and that we are in the final week of preparation. I’m probably more impatient to get this site online than my collectors are to see it! I can’t wait to send that e-mail out to my collectors saying, “Come on over, Simonson On Location is ready for you!” But I can’t do it yet. Soon!!

I shot Antonio at Diamond Head Beach at sunrise. This is one section of his galleries.

(For more info on “Simonson On Location” see the previous blog entry, “Creating Simonson On Location, Part 2”)


When Mitch and I began talking about the look, feel and structure of Simonson On Location, we decided to keep it very similar to the current art website. For one thing, we have a good, stable, user-friendly web design, so why change it? On top of that, it makes life easier for my current collectors if the new website has the same easy-to-use design as the fine-art website they’ve been visiting for years.

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This is our design for the main directory page of Simonson On Location.

But of course at the same time, we wanted to make it clear that this was a different website with a slightly different focus, so we gave it its own distinctive look. We changed the background to black, and changed the theme colors a bit. I chose a blue-green theme because it reminds me of the color of the ocean in the tropics.

I Start Choosing the Photographs

When I actually got started putting the Simonson On Location galleries together, the very first set of photographs I worked on were from my first photo shoot with Marcus.

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These are some of the photographs from my first Marcus photo shoot.

The first part of this photo shoot showed the progression from getting on the boat in Angra dos Reis, sailing around with Marcus getting naked on the boat, then arriving at a deserted island, where Marcus dove into the water and we followed him to the beach in a rowboat.

Structure of the Site

As I worked with this first set of photos, I started to get clearer on the structure I wanted for the new website.

In a situation like this it would be easy to take an entire photo shoot of 900 or 1000 photographs and just upload the whole mass of them to the website, and call it “Marcus Photo Shoot” or whatever. But it seems to me that would be a bit like writing a novel without any chapters, paragraphs, or punctuation! You could read it, after a fashion, but it wouldn’t be much fun.

I certainly didn’t want to do that. In a way, I’m presenting my own story here, and I want it told properly. I also want it to be fun and entertaining for the reader/viewer.

Each Photo Shoot is a Story

So I decided to look at each photo shoot as an entire story. I would divide each shoot into several galleries, so that I could tell a bit of the story with each gallery. The number of images in each gallery would depend on what was going on in the photos. Sometimes I might shoot dozens of photographs of the model with just minor alterations in his pose or expression. Not much story going on there so that would be kept in a single gallery.

But if there was a lot of action, changes of scenery, etc., then I would divide it into smaller galleries, because there would be more story to tell. It’s a bit like dividing a story into chapters. You want each chapter to have a basic subject or theme, and to move things along in a logical yet entertaining way.

This meant that some galleries might have 100 images in them—while others might have as few as 25 or 30. My goal was to let the photographs tell their story, and to have the viewer see and “hear” the story of the photo shoot as it happened.

I Create the First Three Galleries

So the first 3 galleries of the first Marcus photo shoot went something like this:

Gallery 1: We’re on the boat in Angra dos Reis, sailing out into the islands to find a deserted beach. Marcus is wearing speedos, and I start shooting photos as he lounges around on the boat. At the very end of this gallery, he begins stripping off his speedos.

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Here's an actual gallery page from the new website. You'll be able to click on each of these thumbnails to see the full-sized image.

Gallery 2: Marcus lounges around naked as we’re still sailing around the islands.

Gallery 3: We finally find our island and Marcus dives off the boat to swim to the beach.

These would be just the first 3 galleries. The entire photo shoot might end up having 20 or more galleries, with each one telling a bit more of the story.

As I put these segments together and wrote a narrative for each, I began to really enjoy myself. I liked the way this was unfolding, and it felt like it would be fun for my collectors to read and view these “stories.”

I put together the first three galleries from that Marcus photo shoot to get things rolling, then moved on to another photo shoot. I decided I’d tackle Eduardo in Rio next.


One of the most exciting projects I’ve undertaken in several years is finally becoming a reality.

It’s a an online gallery of uncensored photographs from my photo shoots all over the world. This subscribers-only website will be called “Simonson On Location.”

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This project was jump-started by a comment my webmaster, Mitch, made to me a couple of months ago.

Mitch and I have worked together for several years now. Mitch isn’t just a great web guy, he’s also an invaluable sounding board and idea man. In one of our recent meetings, he said, “You know, Douglas, it might be time to take another look at doing that subscriptions site.”

This was an idea we had batted around for years: a subscriptions-only website which would allow my collectors to view the uncensored images from my photoshoots.

I’ve been doing male-nude photo shoots for over 30 years now. Most of those materials have never been seen by anyone but myself, and occasionally my assistants. (As a reader of this blog, you have probably seen a select few of these images—in censored form—in my “Step-by-Step in the Studio” entries. But 99.9% of them have never been shown.)

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Here I am at a photo shoot in Rio de Janeiro. Unlike this image, photographs on the new website will be uncensored.

These images, as much as my drawings and paintings, are documents of my life as a photographer and artist. And for many reasons—not least the fact that I’ve just turned 60, and these days I have a broader perspective on a lot of things—the time seems right to share this part of my life.

So when Mitch brought up the subject of a subscriptions site, I got excited. It seemed like now, the time was finally right!

So I said YES, let’s do it. And we plunged in. Mitch started working on all the back-end stuff it takes to set up a subscription website (and there are a lot of details involved!). And I started the process of going through my photographs.

That’s when I really started to grasp the enormity of the task. We’re talking about thousands of photographs, each of which need to be vetted, sorted, tweaked for image quality, classified, numbered, and put in a database (because I wanted my collectors to be able to buy any of the images as a photographic print).

Plus I would need to write the story of each model and each photoshoot.

There was a lot to do. I tried not to think about how much work it was going to be to go into Photoshop and tweak and prepare each image for online presentation. But then, at exactly the right time, a friend of mine who runs a Hawaii stock-photography website told me about something that could cut my workload dramatically: Adobe Lightroom.

I got the software and began learning it and found that I really liked it. So as I started actually going through my photo archives, my excitement about the project was enhanced by my new streamlined work flow.

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Here I am in my studio-office using Adobe Lightroom to review photos for the new website.

This is a lot of work, but it’s also a lot of fun. Going through photoshoots from years past is bringing back a lot of memories, and as I sift through the individual photographs I’m seeing them through new eyes as I think about how much fun it will be to share entire photo shoots with my collectors online.

Plus I’m realizing how many really beautiful images were buried in the photo vaults, so to speak. Now people are finally going to be able to see and enjoy them!

In my next entry I’ll share some images of what the new website will look like.


Let me warn you ahead of time, this is a longer-than-usual post. But if you’re interested in the real nuts and bolts of how a very realistic painting like this gets done—plus the stuff I had to go through in my own mind to get myself through it—you’ll find it here.

I got the idea to do this painting because lately I’ve been online a lot looking at other artists’ work, especially others who do male nudes, and there were some I saw who were doing really amazingly realistic paintings and really pulling it off. Their technique was mind-boggling. I thought, I could do that.

What I mean is, with a bit of work and focus, I can do that kind of work. But generally I don’t. That’s because every time I look at someone else’s super-realistic painting, I think, Jeez, I’m glad I don’t have to deal with that kind of detail. I usually see it as incredibly tedious. And being a realist painter is not my goal in life. That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy it from time to time, but usually I just don’t go there.

Still, I kept looking at these guys’ work and thinking, I would still like to test myself in this area, because it’s been years since I went down that super-realist road, and I’ve grown and changed and it would be interesting to see how it would be. So I was starting to get excited about the idea.

Then I went looking for a photograph to use as source material, and I came back to my favorites, among them Marcus at Angra Dos Reis—our first photo shoot there. There are still a lot of images in that bunch that have promise, and I found one I really liked.

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However! I began examining the photograph in detail, thinking about what was going to be required of me, and I found a LOT of things I did not want to have to mess with, especially the kind of detail work it takes to make a dripping-wet body realistic. It’s not just more highlights because the body is wet; there are all these incredibly complex patterns of water on skin, droplets, shadows of droplets, reflections WITHIN each tiny droplet, droplet TRAILS that get lighter and darker in incredibly subtle ways, etc., etc.—it’s an incredible thicket of visual complexity.

And that’s not even mentioning the swirling water around the model!

I decided it just wasn’t worth it. I decided there was no way I would be able to maintain my momentum over the amount of time and work it would take to do a highly realistic painting from this photograph.

But I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Then, a few hours later, I don’t even remember exactly what gave me the idea, but I thought, hey, maybe I could try something like this: paint the whole thing pretty quickly, in a fairly crude, unfinished way, but with all the basic lights and darks and colors in place and fairly accurate as far as they went. It would look finished to someone who wasn’t looking for much detail. THEN, I could go in and, one area at a time, and in a fairly relaxed manner (meaning not a day or two, but weeks), I could refine the surface. I could finish each area to a high degree of precision at my own pace.

Now this was a way of conceptualizing the operation that made me think, maybe, just maybe, I could pull this off.

Because as much as I hate the tedium of doing a lot of detail in a painting, there’s still a real pleasure and reward in really capturing a particularly beautiful piece of visual reality. So I decided to go for it.

Before I proceeded, however, I did something else—I cropped the image. This was partly out of laziness. I didn’t want to have to do all that detail. But the truth is, cropping it made for a better composition and a stronger image overall. So cropping worked for me on a couple of levels.

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I also pumped up the contrast and saturation some (left), then made a copy where I posterized the image (right). This is my usual procedure—using the computer (Photoshop) to give myself different ways of seeing and conceptualizing the image before I even begin painting.

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Now the fun began. I transferred the image to canvas (just doing a pencil outline), then painted over that with a neutral brown wash. While that was drying, I began mixing colors. Then I started the first phase, the crude unfinished painting which would serve as the underpainting for all the detail that was to come later.

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This was fairly undemanding and I did it pretty quickly—maybe 2 or 3 hours—because the whole objective was to keep it simple and just get the basics down so the refinement could begin.

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The next day, I started the refining process. I began with the background on the upper left because it looked the most doable, and because it’s generally better to start at the top and work down so your hand is less likely to smear something under it. Over the next couple of days I brought the painting to the condition shown above: the tree shadows and the shallow water behind Marcus are mostly done, as is the slightly deeper water swirling around him on the right.

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The next 3-4 days were spent on, in this order: Marcus’ face and hair (this turned out to be harder than I anticipated because his face is almost entirely in shadow, plus the whole photograph is in sharp focus except for his face), his right shoulder (on our left), the necklace, and his left shoulder (on our right). You can see the progression in the image above. Let me just say that water droplets on a human body are a real challenge. The problem with water—maybe I should say one of the CHALLENGES that water presents—is the extremely subtle value changes that happen in situations like this. If you make the water trail a little too dark it looks like a scar on the body. Make it a little too light and it vanishes entirely. This is complicated by the fact that acrylics always dry darker. So if you get it right while the paint is wet, in 5 minutes it will be too dark. Then you mix it lighter and try again. And if you haven’t got the shadows of the body itself quite right, then the water will never work. So it can be a real bitch! You can see the first shoulder I did looks okay, but the second one is better, so I’m learning as I go.

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Above you see the condition of the painting about 5 days later. I’ve worked on the chest and abdominal muscles over that time, and there was a lot of painting and repainting. As I’ve continued I’ve gotten better at making the water droplets and trails look realistic, which is a good thing because when you get into the areas where it’s reflected light (the left side of the chest and abs, for instance), the value changes are REALLY subtle. But I’m pleased at the overall look of things so far. And I’m really pleased that my strategy is working: instead of getting burned out on the painting after 2 or 3 days, I’ve been able to come back each day and push it a little farther toward completion. One thing I’ve had to be careful about is keeping track of how each color was mixed. This is more necessary because, given how quickly acrylics dry, to do a painting over several days or weeks requires paints to be remixed several times. I’ve managed to do a pretty good job of this. It’s now been almost 10 days I’ve been working on this painting.

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The final painting: 'Tudo Molhado' (click on image to see this item on my website)

The painting is finally done—two weeks after beginning it. The last 4 days or so were spent working on the legs, the swirling water between the legs, and the big spume of white water gushing around Marcus’ right side. I won’t say I’m 100 percent pleased with the finished work—there are some areas I would like to fix but to tell you the truth, I’m not sure it would be worth it to go in and take the chance of ruining what I’ve accomplished so far. I’m finished with this one, for better or worse. And even with the few areas I wish I’d done better, I look at the painting and overall I think I did a good job. I certainly learned a lot of things that will make my next realistic painting better. Most of all, I’m pleased that I was able to maintain a consistent working pace for a two-week period on a single painting. That’s real stamina, from my point of view, and it’s made me stronger and more confident.

Oh yeah, the title. I’m calling it “Tudo Molhado.” That’s Portuguese and I learned that phrase when I was doing a photo shoot with Eduardo in Rio and I had him get in the shower and get totally wet, then run out into the light outside while he was still dripping. He wasn’t sure he understood, so he said, “Tudo molhado??”— “All wet?”

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After doing a fairly flat, stylized painting (“Tropical City”), I was in the mood for something more loose and painterly. I decided to unleash my creative forces on Marcus, my favorite Brazilian model. I found a great image from my 2nd photo shoot with him in Angra dos Reis. We (myself, 5 of my friends from Hawaii and California, my Brazilian agent Luiz, and two models, Marcus and Sandro) had chartered a boat in Angra, and set out to find a deserted island. When we found it, we unloaded Marcus and Sandro on the beach. One of the things Marcus was doing once we got onto the beach was playing around with one of the oars he’d used to row us over from the big boat. I love this shot of him standing on the beach holding the oar.


First thing I did, as usual, was go into Photoshop to tweak the photograph and make it easier to paint from. The first step was using Levels to heighten the contrast (which also intensifies the colors). This lost a lot of the detail in the foliage inside the shadows, which was fine with me—less stuff to paint, plus less distraction from the model in the final work.

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Next I used Median to soften all the edges. This helps keep me from getting too interested in detail, almost all of which is unnecessary in the type of painting I was going for here. Finally, I used Posterize to cut down the total number of colors and tones in the image. This makes it a lot easier to decide what colors to mix and where to put them. It’s almost like having a paint-by-number diagram. Well, almost.

Next I printed out all the various tweaks of the image so I’d have reference images to work from while painting. At that point it was time to cut out a piece of canvas and tack it up onto my big drawing board (actually it’s an oversize bulletin board, which works perfectly). Then I transferred the image onto the canvas with pencil and covered it all with a purplish-brown wash—my usual procedure. (You probably can’t see it in the images below, but enough of the underdrawing is visible that I have a guide to all the major color areas of the painting.)

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Using the same approach as I used in the previous painting—mixing just two or three colors and then trying them out before going ahead and mixing all the colors I’d use in the whole painting—I mixed some greens and started painting them in. I got a little carried away and took the foliage in the upper left to a high level of finish, but caught myself and began filling in the background. At that point I started mixing some browns and oranges for the fleshtones and began applying them.

At that point it was time to stop for the day. I usually do my best painting work in the mornings, so I stopped and began again the next morning. I used browns and cadmium reds/oranges for most of the body. For the highlights on the body I tried a bit of yellow in the white (see light on Marcus’ back on left-hand image above) but found that a cooler white worked better. Like the previous painting, Tropical City, this was a figure mostly in shadow with some highlights on the upper part of the body. That means the reflected light inside the shadowed part of the body is important. In this case I used some intense cadmium red in some places, cadmium orange in others, for the lightest reflected lights. Not all of the lights and darks make sense anatomically but they work overall so that’s okay with me. Once I had the body mostly done I added the rest of the foliage in the upper right and began painting in the beach area.

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The beach area went pretty fast and next thing I knew the painting was finished! I like that I didn’t get too caught up in detail on this one. It’s loose and has some spontaneity. I also like that the mix-paint-as-you-go principle I experimented with on the previous painting worked pretty well with this one too. Title: “Paddler.”

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The final painting, 'Paddler.' (Click on image to see it on my website.)

1407source-2upI was browsing through my thousands of digital photos on my computer, looking for ideas for my next painting, and I found myself in the Marcus April 2006 folder. This was the trip I took to Rio and rented my friends’ Copacabana apartment, and had a photo shoot set up with Marcus and he never showed up–then he showed up two days later at 9 in the morning and I had to drag myself out of bed and collect myself in a hurry to do a 2-hour photo shoot. Marcus is one of the few models I would do that for! This photograph has him in my bedroom on the bed I was sleeping in, sprawled out invitingly. Unfortunately the photograph I liked best was cut off on the left. I wanted a more horizontal composition, so I took another photograph I took at about the same time, and added more leg and bed on the left. Thank goodness for Photoshop!

Extending the composition horizontally and adding a window.

Extending the composition horizontally and adding a window.

Once I had the two photographs put together and had a composition I liked, I wanted to change the mood of the image. The simple bedroom setting was not very exciting to me. I wanted more of a fantasy. I had the idea of adding a window that looked out on a tropical beach setting. So I went looking on the Internet for windows with palm trees showing through them. That was not easy, but I finally found something that was more or less what I was looking for. Using Photoshop, I plopped that window into the upper right corner to see what it looked/felt like. I liked the result and thought, yes, I think this concept is going to work.

First pencil sketch that was getting close to what I wanted.

First pencil sketch that was getting close to what I wanted. (Click on image to go to my art website.)

Using my doctored photographic image, I began sketching. After about 7 or 8 rough sketches, I finally started to get an image that excited me. This required some stylization and simplification, some elongation of the figure, and a “cottage” feeling–which means vertical lines suggesting a simple wood structure, and a window framing palms and an ocean horizon.

Final pencil sketch before I began figuring out color scheme.

Final pencil sketch before I began figuring out color scheme. (Click on image to go to my art website.)

The following drawing was very close to what I wanted. The elements all seemed to be in place. What I needed now was a color scheme. The existing colors of the photographic image were close, but a little boring. I decided that, rather than doing several color studies, I would continue working in Photoshop. That way, when a color area didn’t work, I could easily change the color, or lighten or darken it to see if it helped. This is much easier than repainting a whole area, or starting a new color sketch, until I get the color balance I want.

Layered photoshop image which allowed me to experiment with colors.

Layered photoshop image which allowed me to experiment with colors.

Using Photoshop I was able to cut out the figure from one of the source photographs, elongate and distort it so it fit the drawing I’d created, then “paint” in the color areas on the computer to see how the color scheme was working. This saved me a lot of time, and I was able to fairly quickly find a combination of colors that fit with the fantasy that was taking shape in my mind: colors that gave me the feeling of a lazy afternoon in a tropical beach cottage with a boy I’d met in the city and brought to a little beach town for a romantic weekend together.

The final painting: "Beach Cottage"

The final painting: "Beach Cottage." (Click on image to see the print on my website.)

That ended the preparatory phase of the work, and set the stage for the real work: creating the actual painting. I had worked out the color scheme and had a nice approximation of the feeling I was going for, and that made creating the painting itself much easier. There followed 3 days of taking the rough concept and turning it into a finished painting. I kept the finished work pretty faithful to the final sketch, except for going back to the previous sketch to get the plate and discarded cup on the floor–I thought that was a nice touch, suggesting the relaxed nature of the “lost weekend” I was depicting. I decided to call the painting “Beach Cottage.” I’m very happy with this painting, not least because I took a semi-interesting photographic image and turned it into a much richer painting with a whole story behind it.