Sunday, 13 July 2014

This time, it's real Gold Leaf

In my last post, I talked about doing faux gold leaf water gilding, this time, it was the real deal. A client of mine wanted an "Old School" gold leaf sign for his high end restaurant, a water gilded gold leaf sign. Done it the traditional way, using a water and gelatin wash to adherer the gold to the glass.

 I started by painting the outline and drop shadow in reverse on the inside of the window. The next step was to apply the gold leaf. It's always fun working on location, sort of. The first problem came when one of the staff decided to come through the door where I was working. I had just finished making a batch of size, and had set it on a ledge using the door closer arms for support. Although I had put signs on the door asking "Please do not use these doors", and also had a ladder blocking the inside, she still decided to use it. Needless to say, everything on the ledge came tumbling down, include the fresh pot of size. I always find interesting, and frustrating, when people don't think that warning signs and such, apply to them. Although she was very apologetic, it didn't change the fact I would have to start over. Even after locking the doors (something I should have done in the first place) people would come up to the door and pull on it, not to mention the pissed off look they gave me because they had to use the other doors, which was 20' away.

Applying the leaf went smoothly, except for the air from the air exchange blowing the leaf on the cutting pad around, but that' just part of the job. The backing-up and cleanup went just as smooth. In the end, the customer was thrilled with the job, and also amazed with the amount of work that went into doing this type of sign. Hopefully he'll keep that in mind when writing the cheque.

 With the outline and shadow done, it's time to move onto the gilding.

With the backup done, and excess gold clean off the job is finished. Time to head off on a short, and well deserved vacation. Although it doesn't show up well in the picture, the gold is highly reflective, the true look of a water gilded sign. Nothing else comes close to the look.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Faux Gold Leaf window signs for the movie industry.

Here's a little faux Gold Leaf window job recently completed for a TV western series. It's not often they want this type of work, but it's a welcome change to the standard sign work that's usually done for film. It was done using the same glass gilding approach you would use on a real gold job, except using dutch gold instead of real gold. Although dutch gold/ bronze leaf is heavier, and is a little tricky to work with, on camera, you can't really tell the difference.

The first step is to reverse paint the outline with the pattern attached to the outside, making sure to put registration marks so you can line up the pattern when it's time to backup the lettering. If you're not familiar with the process, it means to line up the pattern, and pounce the layout over the leaf. That way, you have a layout to follow. 

With the leaf laid down using a gelatin wash, and the holidays filled in, it's time to do the backup lettering. Because this is done for a western, you don't want a perfect lettering job, you want in to have a little character. There is a difference between painting a sign with character, and painting a bad sign. The funny thing is, they both will work in film. No town ever had perfect signs through out the town. Just check the history pictures and you'll see what I mean.

                                                                                                            Photo by Randy Janzen Photography...Thanks Bro.

The finished glass installed. A sign like this really stands out, but could also pose a few challenges for the lighting and camera people, but it will definitely be noticed. Thanks for taking the time to drop by. If you have any questions, feel free the contact me.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Sign Painting Workshop in June / 2014

It's official. I'll be doing another workshop on the weekend of June 28-29 in conjunction with Better Letters.Co. The workshop will be held at Swinton's Art Supplies in Calgary, Alberta. This will be a hands on sign painting workshop, covering the basics of hand lettering, and the tools and materials needed to create a finished sign. Hope to see some of you there. Just follow the links below for more information.  You can also contact me by email.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man replica bike project

With Spring officially here, I thought this would be a timely post to do. I was approached by a new client that was building a replica bike from the movie Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man. He had contacted me through the company Facebook page inquiring if I would be interested in re-creating the lettering job done on the hero bike, ridden by Micky Rouke. The answer was a quick ... You Bet!  Being from the 2 wheeled community, and having watched the movie myself, it was a perfect fit. Not to mention. a great use of the hand lettering skills.

                                                                  Picture courtesy of the web

My client had fabricated the bike from the ground up, and needless to say, I was blown away by the attention to detail. My job was to replicate the lettering and graphics. We decided to stick as close as possible to the lettering done on the original bike. There are other bikes people had built, but I would be only using reference from the movie bike. Whoever had painted the original had put their own touch to the lettering, so it was important for me to try and capture it. There were a few subtle differences in the tank, so I had to improvise on the positioning of the lettering. In the end, the client was thrilled to say the least, and it was a piece that I'm glad to share with you. Here's a few pictures of the work in progress. And I'd like to say a big thank you Andy, for trusting me with a piece of your dream project. 

The blank canvas.

Due to the curved surface, the pattern was applied in separate pieces. This way, you have the luxury to move it around.and adjust to the surface. Another trick I use is to print off part of the layout, instead of redrawing it, and pounce the print. It saves you a little time. And no, it's not cheating, you still have to paint it.

                With the layout in place, it's time to get the brushes out and mix some paint.

With the orange on, it's time to move onto the outlining. Time to turn up the tunes and get into the outlining zone.

Just about there. Next step, paint inline and card detail. 
Sorry about the glare, the lettering is really orange. 

The finished job. I was asked to change a few cards to represent some important points in the client's life.

The finished bike. It's always nice to be part of a custom build. It's the type of job that someone has put their heart and soul into, and they have the trust in you to be part of it. PS... it sounds as good as it looks. Thanks for taking the time to drop by.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

My first" Distressed Sign" workshop.

                                                                                                                                             Photo courtesy of Brian Batista

After years of thinking and talking about it, I finally decided to put together a Distressed Sign workshop. With the help of my good friend Doug Swinton, who owns Swinton's Art Supplies, it became a reality. I felt there may be an interest with people wanting to learn some of the scenic techniques I've picked up working as a sign painter / scenic artist, for the film industry over the years. With the rising popularity of hand lettering, it seems everyone and their dog is jumping on the bandwagon to hold sign painting workshops. Although I'm sure they can be fun, I don't think you'll learn more than just the basics of hand lettering in a day or two. What they will give you is an insight to the process, brushes and materials, and techniques, used in sign painting. From there, it's up to the students to follow thru on their own. 

I wanted to do a class that would take someone with little, or no sign experience , and have them create something they can take home with them. We decided to make it a 2 day workshop. Day One would cover the basics, layout / brushes / paint and materials.  Day Two would cover transferring their layout to the board / lettering, and the best part...wrecking their signs, but hey, that's what the workshop was all about. I didn't want to waste a lot of time on practicing strokes and such, as that gets old real quick. That's also something they can practice on their own. The focus of the workshop was to create a distressed sign, not to paint the perfect sign. I also wanted them to have something to take home to hang on their wall.

I decided to limit the class size to 10 students, which in the end, turned out to be the perfect size. Because this was going to be my first workshop, I felt it was important to make sure I had time for a one on one with each student. That way no one would feel left behind. As luck would have it, the class sold out.  They were such a enthusiastic group, they even took their layouts home to work on. Probably not something I would have done with my Saturday night. I also brought a wide selection of brushes and paints to the class, along with a few finished signs so they could see the finished product.  I find most people starting are unsure of what type of  brushes  to use / what kinds of paints and substrates to use, and where to find them. So I  put together a small workshop booklet that covered brush practice, layout rules, color combinations, and where to get suppliers. For the workshop, we would be using water based paints, and the proper brushes for use with the paints. I also spent some time covered oil based paints, such as One Shot and Ronan paints,  different types of brushes used, and which ones to use on what surfaces. One of the big high-lites of the class was letting them loose on the electro-pouncer, only two got zapped. All in all, everyone seem to really enjoy the workshop, and the best part was they all took home a finished sign. Due to the interest, and buzz from the class, we've decided to do another workshop in early July or August.  Here's just a few pictures from the class, I can't say how much I enjoyed sharing my information with such a talented group of people. I  look forward to doing it again.

Playing with the paint.

Starting the aging process

You could hear a pin drop, everyone was so focused on their project.

Step one. Painting the sign.

The most important part is enjoying yourself.

And I think they did.

Can you say "Focused"

                                           Photo courtesy of Brian Batista

                                                                                                                                                       Photo courtesy of Brian Batista

The happy class at the end of the workshop.
Thanks for taking the time to drop by. If you have an interest in attending one of the workshops, just drop me a line. I'll make sure to let you know when and where. Also, watch for my new upcoming video blogs.


Saturday, 7 December 2013

It's not a sign, but it is hand painted.

I received a call from a production company wanting some scenery for a set. They needed a 5' x 8' waterfall painting from a reference photo they had. The turnaround was tight, only one week, that included picking up the materials / prepping the panel, and finalizing artwork and details. But hey, that's what a good challenge is all about. The substrate I used was Alum-Panel (same as Dibond), which was available in a 5' x 10' sheet.  I decided to use artist acrylic due to to tight deadline, plus I like painting with them. The beauty of working with acrylics is the speed that they dry, plus they're water based and have great color.  The reference they provided was reasonably good, but it's only the starting point. Once you start, the painting takes on a life of it's own.

 I start by sanding and priming the panel with B/M Fresh Start. This product is designed to adhere to the enamel factory finish on the panel. The next step is to do a rough layout so I can block in the values. For this step I use black gesso. I picked up this technique from a workshop I did with a well known Canadian artist named Mike Svob. Just click on his name to check out his website.

Now that I have the basic layout and values established, I can start to add color. This is where the fun begins. The nice thing with using artist acrylics is the speed you can work , and on this project, I can use all the help I can get. It's also amazing how far a small tube of paint can go when pallet mixing.

With the color added, it starts to take shape. One important thing to keep in mind is the end use of the painting. It will be used as background for a scene being filmed, not a fine art painting for a gallery or home. You still have to make it impressive, but careful not to get bogged down in detail. It's always a fine line when doing this type of work. Paint the big picture and add detail as time allows. It helps to take some of the stress out of the job.

The finished painting. Overall, the job went off without a hitch, and was ready for pick-up on the promised date. Although I enjoy the process of painting the artwork, I also enjoy watching it go out the door, as that means it's time to get paid. I'd rather be a working artist instead of a staving artist, I've tried the starving part, and it wasn't much fun.

 A shameless promo shot to give you a sense of scale. All in all, it was nice to do something other than signs. It never hurts to challenge yourself. No gain. Thanks for taking the time to drop by.