Saturday, September 27, 2014

SKETCHBOOK: "Ren Fest 2014"

Today I had a fun sketching at the Renaissance Festival in Bonner Springs, MO.  I've gone sketching there three years in a row, and each time try to find something different to draw.  I would have had sketches of people in all their wonderful costumes, but they kept moving all the time. So...I captured a couple of buildings, a statue, and a horse. A great day to be outside.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Painting a DIDGERIDOO!

Today I had the pleasure of delivering a project that I've been painting on for a couple of weeks.  My incredibly talented musician friend, Amado Espinoza, makes instruments as well as performs with them.  He had asked me if I would barter with him...drum lessons in exchange for me designing and painting his hand-made "didgeridoo".  This is an unusual instrument from Australia that he made from PVC pipe that you can find at the hardware store.  He crafted a unique "slider" tube that allows for changes in pitch when he plays.  Above is the "Big Reveal" with Amado and his wife, Karen Lisondra.

These are some images of research that I gathered for inspiration.  Amado had shown me the pattern in the upper left corner that he liked.  I also found some other "didge" designs, as well as photos of the "goanna" lizard from Australia.  Amado wanted a more "Aboriginal" style.  Below is the didgeridoo before it's been painted.  Amado was playing it in my kitchen, while I recorded it with my little digital microphone on the floor.
I made some quick sketches at the kitchen table while we discussed some options of what this could look like, colors, techniques, etc.  On the right side are some photoshoped renders of how this might look with a solid black "slider".  I was concerned with scratches that would form during use of the slider pipe, so I suggested a "spatter" effect, which we went with in the end.
I used ENAMEL spray paints, so I had to set up outside...the fumes were quite strong.  Probably would have been fine if I had been on a "walkabout" looking for some "Dreamtime" experiences.  But I needed to keep a clear head. :)

I made a little stand out of a broom handle and some scrap wood.  This came in handy for the detail painting and for moving the "didge" around while it was drying in my garage. I used BLACK for a base coat.  Then I used BLACK, GRAY, and WHITE enamel paints that I sprayed into a bristle brush. I would sling dots of spatter on the upper slider tube, building lots of layers up of alternating tones.
After I let that dry, I used a RUSTY RED on the bottom tube.

Once the enamel coats were dry after a couple of days, I began the detailing work.  I masked off the main area with blue painter's tape, creating the GOANNA lizard. I then painted the shape of the lizard with BLACK acrylic paint, brushed on.
Then came the laborious process of drawing and painting DOTS and DOTS and MORE DOTS!!!  For the white areas of details, I primarily used a WHITE SHARPIE pen.  It is acrylic water-based paint.  I changed up the patterns on the lizard a bit before I was all done.  Then I used a 1/4" wide wooden dowel to paint on all of the larger border dots.  I would dip the dowel into acrylic paints...follow the shapes of the lizard, and alternated WHITE, YELLOW and ORANGE dots until all of the tube was covered.  This was not so much fun, because I had to go over everything TWICE to get the coverage to be opaque enough.  This took several hours, with a day for drying between each application of each color.
The last stage was to spray the whole designed area with clear enamel varnish.  Below is the final didgeridoo with Amado's "AE" logo at the top.  He was very happy with the finished piece...which makes ME happy!
If you would like to learn more about Amado and his music and the instruments that he makes, please visit his website:
or you can find him on Facebook here: