Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Greg Manchess Scores Again

Greg Manchess paints everything from murals to sci-fi and fantasy book cover illustrations. And he has developed into a master of the bold-stroke school of oil painting. I have dozens of images of his work stashed away on my iMac for both inspiration and regret that I could never be as good.

He blogs on Dan Dos Santos' Muddy Colors group blog, which is well worth following if you are interested in contemporary illustration. Not long ago Manchess posted about a demonstration piece he made for a class he was giving. I found the work astonishing.

This is the image he posted. It shows Elsa Lanchester in her "Bride of Frankenstein" movie role. Note Manchess' bold use of blue-green as the main facial color and the contrasting orange-brown on the hair and part of the background (this is not far from normal skin color when toned with white). But the feature that really grabbed my attention is the small areas of warm color below Lanchester's right eye. Without that, the composition would fall apart.

Color is one thing. But what about value (dark-light)? I ran the image through iPhoto to create a black-and-white version. Sure enough, it works well too, which is another factor in creating a satisfying painting. Plus, having colors express values isn't always easy to do, yet Manchess dashed off this painting in less than two hours, including time to fix an area that got smudged by (of all things!) a cat.

As a final test, here is the photo Manchess probably used for reference. His color-based values scheme holds up well when compared to this.


oil painting from photo said...

hi thanks for sharing the nice post about painting.

Stephanie Berry said...

I love this portrait and agree with or without color it's successful. I love these "unfinished" paintings. Something so appealing; you can still feel the energy that goes into vs. a polished, every-square- inch-perfected kind of painting.