Freelance Illustrator // Fine Artist // Adventurer // (I do not accept tattoo-design commissions.) //

May 10, 2010

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

Here are some shots of my little painting for the upcoming "Twilight Zone" show at Gallery 1988 LA. This painting is based off episode # 42 titled "The Eye of the Beholder." (Also titled "The Private World Of Darkness" when initially rebroadcast in the summer of 1962.)

Acrylic ink and graphite on cradled Stonehenge

(The flowers are painted in metallic gold.)

Original sketch:

And "Specters" is finally done... thankfully the tape came off perfectly leaving a super clean edge.


Lennyjolie said...

I really love your style!
Thank you to share with us your amazing pictures and the process. It's very interesting.

pbrigitte said...

"Eye of the Beholder" is my favorite Twilight Zone episode. Awesome job!

A. Grey said...

Let me just say that I LOVE pigs and I think they're totally beautiful.

And 'Specters' really sings to my soul. I'm actually right in the middle of writing a young adult novel that follows an albino Athabascan boy as he tries to help a runaway girl recover from mental/emotional trauma.

Thea Schultheiss said...

I'm soooo relieved the tape came off so cleanly!

Looks spectacular (see what i did there?!)

Jael Segura said...

Specters is absolutely gorgeous.
I do have to ask, though - because I've been looking for forever. What type of support is it painted on? it seems to be paper, and i know it's oils so I'm assuming there's layers of clear gesso, yet i havent found a support strong enough to take it and still remain flat.

any suggestions?

J. A. W. Cooper said...

Thanks so much Lenny and Brigitte, I love all the support!

A Grey- I love pigs too, I think they are really beautiful and creepy at the same time.

Thea- Ha ha ha, you clever girl!

Jael- Warning, long answer:

Painting oil on paper is very tricky and most would say inadvisable. Oil is very corrosive and if applied directly to paper will literally eat away at it over time. I paint on paper because I HATE using transfer paper on large drawings. I prefer to transfer via lightbox, which requires a thin substrate. Of course, a thin substrate is not an appropriate one for painting, so after I transfer the drawing I mount the paper on heavy museum board using matte medium and weighing it down with heavy books over night. (Apply the matte medium to the board, not the paper, or you will get bubbles and ripples.) After that is done I protect the paper with liberal layers of clear gesso and matte medium, and acrylic washes. To prevent warping just be sure to weigh it down with books every night (once it's totally dry of course.)

This is getting pretty long and specific, but I clear a completely flat/clean surface like a tabletop, put a layer of paper towels down to cushion and absorb moisture, then the painting face down, then books covering every inch of the back.

Once you have enough layers of clear gesso you can start the oil painting. Once you start the oils, you can't really weigh it down at night anymore since the oils stay wet so long, but if you've left a white border you can still put books around the edges. Lastly I'd recommend using a thick, high-quality paper like Rives, Stonehenge, Somerset... etc. And if you're going to experiment with this method, start small until you're comfortable with the mounting process.

Sorry that was so long, over the years I've figured this all out through trial and error and my process has become quite specific.

Yolanda Robinson said...

Specters is absolutely stunning! I love the etherial light- a new favorite!

Jael Segura said...


that has got to be the longest, most helpful answer anyone has ever given me on something process related.

Thank you so much!

I have this GIANT roll of 300gsm Rives BFK paper that's like 42" x 10 yards, and really need to find something to do with it. I love using acrylics as watercolors, but since the paper's sturdy enough, I've been meaning to try and use oils on top of laid ground such as gesso.

it's nice to see that you also add more support with acrylics and medium. I have all, but the gesso I have isn't clear... not sure how that would affect the work itself, not letting the paper show through.

Thank you so much for your response, dear! this is truly an interesting process. I'll have to work with it a bit and see how it works for me.

Lesley Vamos said...

Awesome Coop!! anything you draw is "Beautiful" ^_^

Paul C. said...

I adore everything about "Specters", the reduced color palette and the minimal background are fantastic.

Lovely work as always.

Eli's friend said...

I love this blog :D