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Tiki Central Forums Creating Tiki Other Crafts Tiki Tiger Studios: Big long Egyptian trip report!
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Tiki Tiger Studios: Big long Egyptian trip report!
MadDogMike
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Mar 30, 2008
Posts: 7340
From: The Anvil of the Sun
Posted: 2013-07-29 09:03 am   Permalink

Great progress on the painting Tiger. Love the attention to historical details and to all the light sources. The Swap project turned out perfect, it has been fun to see everyone's Swap projects for this theme.
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tigertail777
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 25, 2004
Posts: 671
From: Oregon
Posted: 2013-07-31 06:08 am   Permalink

Thanks Mike! Appreciate you stopping by, the cannibal piece was both fun and painful but I am fairly happy how it turned out.


Well I got up my steam and could not stop again, just NOW got in from the studio and will head to bed soon as I post this so I can get some rest before work. I gotta say I am really having fun with this painting now that I have entered into the part I like doing the most: light and shadows.

First off, I needed to clear up skipped spots and clarify all of those crazy shapes in the background of the organ loft. So I got a darker black (lamp black) and went to town. One side is mostly done in this photo the other is not touched yet to show you the difference.



Then it was time to black out the harp middle and restring it. I had to redo it a couple of times because I wanted the exact number of strings the theater actually has (14) and also needed it to have a slightly forced perspective so the right side strings would be closer together and thinner as they receded from view, and the left side would be farther spaced and wider. Plus they are slightly thinner at the top again as they go away from view. This all gives it that "large" sort of towering over you feel.

This photo shows the penciled lines before I painted them.



Then I used painters tape to make straight lines when painting. I used this trick a lot when I painted theatrical backdrops. Painters tape is sticky, but comes right off without leaving any residue.



Thickening the lines and blocking in the shapes more.



Starting to add a bit of shadow and highlights.



And where I got to tonight with most of the shadow and lighting done. I will need to add a bit more golden highlights it feels a bit dark right now, but I think it does capture the reflective feel of a movie being played in a dark room. I am very happy with the shadows in particular, and managed to capture the "flicker" feel to the movie light.




I did finally manage to find a photo of good enough resolution to blow up, and discovered those are indeed double snake head canopic jars. I have never seen a picture of such a thing, it may exist but I kind of doubt it. Usually only a single snake head was used to represent Uraeus (rearing cobra figure representive of the Patroness Wadjet, protector of lower egypt). The reason only one snake is because there were two main "cults" that ruled Egypt: one ruled the upper (god Nekhbet represented by a vulture) the other lower Egypt. They were fiercely competitive in their religious following, and with many followers. There were other religious cults like this not as strong that would become consolodated into the main religions later, but these two were so strong they could not be. The pharaoh usually only wore the Uraeus to represent his right as ruler, but by the time of Tutankhamen they had to incorporate both to appease both cults into a kind of peace. That is why the golden death mask of Tutankhamen has the snake and vulture together on the crown. Some historians have theorized this may be partially why he was killed: someone from one or both of the cults were angry about them being "put" together as they were and having to "share" the power.

Until next we meet the curse of the mummy my tiki friends!














 
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danlovestikis
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Jun 17, 2002
Posts: 4816
Posted: 2013-07-31 09:44 am   Permalink

The 3D effect in your painting looks deeper than the photo. This is going to be over the top excellent. Wendy
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tigertail777
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 25, 2004
Posts: 671
From: Oregon
Posted: 2013-08-02 09:34 am   Permalink

Thanks Wendy! Yeah... that is why I don't like flash photo's: it sucks all the color and contrast out. Mine also stands out a bit more because it is in the dark, and I have light bounce from the theater screen going on.

Well things are coming along. I am slightly frustrated with the angles and how they are turning out, it is super difficult to get it right and I just found out that the theatre walls are not straight on they sort of angle inwards towards the stage. So maybe with the knowledge of that it actually will work out okay.

I am pretty pleased with the exit sign, I really like the play of light and shadows around it and on the velvet curtains in the exit. If you haven't figured it out by now, light and shadow is absolutely my favorite part of painting I always get a huge kick out of the little dance of light and shadows that happens in dramatic lighting. This painting I was not sure how I was going to handle so many light sources until I thought of the idea of having each of them have a slight tint of color. Movie projections of black and white film would naturally have a blue tint to them, and the fake "torches" would definitely have a very yellow cast. The exit sign is stained glass so has a rainbow cast of colors which I might enhance a bit more.

To begin with... I darkened a lot of the organ loft, it was just too light for a darkened theater. I also added some more blue tinted light bounce from the screen, and some yellow light reflective highlights.





And I finally almost finished the poor little scarab beetle. Just have to make some "cuts" in his wings more to feather them.



More tape magic to try and get the hieroglyphics straight.



Getting the velvet curtains in the doorway.



Putting the stainglass in the exit sign.




Finally before I left the studio I started the striping and side pillar decor. Plus I added some of the blue tint light coming off the theater screen to the drapery folds in the exit.



I'll leave you with a close up of the exit sign rainbow reflection.



Until we mount our camels and cross the heated desert sands again my tiki friends!



 
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tigertail777
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 25, 2004
Posts: 671
From: Oregon
Posted: 2013-08-05 05:10 am   Permalink

Annnnd Awaaaaay we go!

Didn't get as much done this weekend as I would have liked. Those doggoned stripes at the top of the walls encompassing the the ceiling area nearly drove me insane. I know tigers are supposed to like stripes because... well duh. BUT this was completely off the scale NUTS! I almost went blind and it's not over yet by a long shot.

First off, the stripes I had previously penciled in had to be completely whited out they were ALL wrong. See, the thing that is so difficult here is I am doing this slight forced perspective, which means the stripes have to progressively get larger and farther apart as they come towards the eye, and smaller and closer together as they recede. Because of this I really couldn't measure it out and had to eyeball it all. And to make things more fun those stripes go up in a curve. Stripes can make or break the optical illusion of forced perspective (just look at the stretching room in the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland). If they are not spaced right, it will ruin the entire perspective.

While I was at it, I started whiting out the old pillar position because now I could clearly see what was supposed to go there. More on that in a bit.





I also got some new mechanical pencil lead so I could darken and correct outlines on the next upper organ loft part.



Then the insanity of the stripes began. First yellow/tan...



Then the red stripes...



Finally, green.



Then all the extra shading, very carefully done so as not to screw up the stripes.



I still have the really thin stripes to add, but I just could not take anymore I was seeing stripes all night. I thought more would push me to the brink of insanity and allow Cthulu to somehow get into our world through the dizzying shapes. I knew any moment the mad arab would come trotting into the tomb from the hot desert, so it was time to stop lest the earth and myself perish.

Remember I mentioned the original pillar position? I finally pieced two and two together. I was told after inquiries, that the pillars were moved from their original position in the 50's due to larger more modern movie screen sizes, but was uncertain exactly WHERE those pillars originally were. I kept asking questions. I found out there originally were no stairs on either side of the stage. So I looked closely over and over at the handful of photos I have to work with, and the AHA! moment came.

I saw a place by the stairs where there is a lip that forms a square slightly different color than the rest of the floor. This was obviously where the pillar was originally it would fit there perfectly and coincides with the fact of one of the board people telling me it was under the arch (trouble was I was not sure how deep on the stage). BUT! That would then make the pillar too tall to go under the arch with that odd boxy thing on top. All along I felt those were later add ons, they just didn't "feel" right. If you remove those they fit under the arch quite well.

But there still is a puzzle: if it was JUST the pillar as it is now with the round base (discounting the box that extends the stage they are currently on, also a later add on), it would have left a ROUND discolored impression NOT a square. They had to have had either different bases that were small squares, or at least a thick "resting piece" in the shape of a square. There is also just a LITTLE room if you move the pillar under the arch so that it does not meet the arch precisely but has space between. I surmise that it originally had decorative blocks under it like the Boise Idaho theatre ones does, which would emulate the actual pillars in Karnak and other places in Egypt more closely OR a more decorative square base about a quarter the size of the ones they now rest on. Either way there had to be something more than just the pillar to make the square impression on the stage floor, and it is obvious those blocky things on top the pillars now would not fit under the arch.

There was something else puzzling me; see that decorative "dot" painted under the arch? You would not see that if the pillar was in it's original position. Why paint a decoration no one will see? Answer: the arch was repainted when the pillars were moved to be less "plain" looking, because once you move the pillars you only have the arch as a frame for the movie, changing the original aesthetic of the proscenium arch. If you look closely at the photo you will see the paint flaking away on the bottom of the arch, and it seems to be of a different quality than the other paint flaking off I have seen in other photos. Of course it would be if it was later paint with less lead content and would not adhere as well on top a coat of older paint. I personally think from all this that the arch actually was painted much more decoratively originally. Maybe not as crazy detailed as the Boise Idaho one, but I am betting it was not just plain as it is now. I think when they "remodeled" that arch, they painted around the center emblems and over top decorations that went with the emblems. I could be wrong, and without seeing it in person there is no way to tell for sure but it just seems to stick out to me as odd.



As you can see here, not only would those dots be completely covered and they are EXACTLY where the center of the pillars rest, but if they were back in their original position the arch side fronts would be fully exposed. I am having a hard time buying the fact it was so plain looking during the art deco era. I am betting there were at LEAST a few motif decorations on that arch. Again, I could be wrong. I only have photos to go by right now. I would love a peek in there to confirm my suspicions, but it ain't gonna happen till the place can be fixed up.

There IS one other possibility, again hard to tell from the photos. If you look in the one with the floor impression you can see that square floor part with a lip, THAT could also be where the pillars rested which would push them almost an entire pillar length farther inwards and not cover the decorative dots. However, some of the backdrops would also be covered when in that position. In a way, it does sort of make more sense, that lip is about the right height to lift the pillar much closer to the arch top. I was told that the pillars have slots on the back to originally hold a fire curtain mechanism and the "asbestos" backdrop they found is as far as I can tell the same size as the other backdrops.

According to wiki: "A safety curtain (or fire curtain in America) is a fire safety precaution used in large proscenium theatres. It is usually a heavy fibreglass or iron curtain located immediately behind the proscenium arch. Asbestos-based materials were originally used to manufacture the curtain, before the dangers of asbestos were discovered. The safety curtain is sometimes referred to as an iron in British theatres, regardless of the actual construction material."

I am trying to find pictures of how such a mechanism would work, some kind of rollers? Anyways I know that it was DIRECTLY behind the arch, and had to block off the entire proscenium opening due to fire codes so I am pretty damn sure my approximation of the position is correct as the pillars would also help block the arch opening.

It is also possible that the boxes the pillars rest on now are just a wee bit taller than the stage, if so then those weird blocky things MIGHT very tightly fit under the arch...again hard to tell from these photos and all this conjecture is driving me mad. At least I am pretty sure I know the original position from all this. Sooooo....




So more detective work, and two dimensional renovation when next we meet again tiki friends.


 
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danlovestikis
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Jun 17, 2002
Posts: 4816
Posted: 2013-08-10 7:28 pm   Permalink

I'm so impressed with your progress. I wish that we could see the faces of those involved in this project when they see your work. I love what you have done so far. This is the hardest kind of painting to do. So many challenges and you are tackling them very well. Thank you for all the lessons, Wendy
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tigertail777
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 25, 2004
Posts: 671
From: Oregon
Posted: 2013-08-26 06:23 am   Permalink

Thanks again for stopping by and commenting Wendy. I have to say I am learning so many things from painting this, not just techniques but also about myself. I really had major doubts I was going to be able to pull off this level of detail with all the crazy angles and everything, and really have never considered myself to actually be in the class of a fine artist painter of any sort. I felt like I was just dabbling, and still do feel I am not up to a professional level. However I begin to see that I could actually reach that level given more time and practice. Or maybe I just have too high of standards and self criticize too much... I dunno.

The good news is that the theatre has already reached enough of the money goal through the very hard efforts and timeless work of their volunteers to begin steps towards starting the restoration. So even if they don't need my painting for the current phase, they still have plans for further phases to bring back the original appearance even more which they will also need to do fund raising for.

And what did I say about learning through this painting? I think I have wearied the poor volunteers with all my questions about the history, and now see I went a little overboard in my zeal. So, I will go by the info I have now and do my best guess on where things went, and only bug them when I am really stumped. Plus I sort of drove myself a little nuts with figuring all this out to the point that I couldn't even paint for a while... so kinda counterproductive.

Now, let us travel back to the tomb of the pharaohs for another glimpse into the Kapu tiki-less Tutankhamen tale...

First, I used that outlining technique I learned about earlier in this thread...



Then I started filling in the gaps so my eyes would not go cross-eyed anymore...



Things started to get "fleshed out"...



I went back and defined/outlined the hieroglyphics a bit more, including adding two tiny cartouches on the ends.



Fixed the "torch" lighting and shadows, particularly where the hieroglyphs are.



Since this is in a darkened theater, I deepened the shadows behind the upper pillar divider, and also increased the light bounce from the theater screen to the front organ screen. I also made the decorative painted elements on that same pillar divider more distinct and in deeper shadow.





And our journey ends there for now. The iron bars on the far side bottom are a heat vent (I know, I had to ask too... seems a little bizarre in a way). Despite the frustration at the intricacy, I have been really enjoying working on this though I never anticipated it would take so long, and I am growing weary of it. I need to get this done soon so I can get some paying work done. I have a possible commission for a painting based on Adventureland at Walt Disney World right after this, so perhaps we will be getting back into the tiki groove very soon.


 
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Gene S Morgan
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Joined: Jul 18, 2011
Posts: 342
From: Midwest the navel of the USA
Posted: 2013-08-26 7:49 pm   Permalink

Boy this is such an amazing project. I love the detail .... The still from "The Gold Rush" is just so cool ... Gene

 
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MadDogMike
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Mar 30, 2008
Posts: 7340
From: The Anvil of the Sun
Posted: 2013-08-26 10:10 pm   Permalink

Holy Clotted Cream Nigel! I didn't realize you had two the harp playing organ panels to paint. Coming along very nicely, keep up the good work Tiger
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danlovestikis
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Jun 17, 2002
Posts: 4816
Posted: 2013-08-27 08:54 am   Permalink

tigertail777 thank you for making my morning special. I am enjoying your step by steps so very much and I'd been missing them. You do excellent art that takes not just talent but a keen eye for detail. You are right about practice, you'll be a better artist the rest of your life just from what you have accomplished here. This is over the top good. Wendy
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tigertail777
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 25, 2004
Posts: 671
From: Oregon
Posted: 2013-08-27 12:03 pm   Permalink

Gene: Thanks for coming by, and the wonderful comments. Glad you like the Gold Rush still, I see I forgot to add an essential part of the gag: the nails in the shoe which the little tramp spit out like bones. I will correct that and the eyes once I get back on that section.

Mike: Well, it's actually one and a HALF... thank goodness. If I had to do a complete other organ loft panel I would have gone mad I tell you, MAD! I did that on purpose to not only focus the area, but also to cut down on the complication of the forced perspective, which was already insane. Also it leads the eye around a little better; every picture particularly ones that tell a story should have a discernible "eye path" it makes for a much more enjoyable viewing experience. "Clotted Cream Nigel"? Sounds like some British comedy I ought to know, and unless its a Python sketch I am not sure what it is... but it did sound darned funny.

Wendy: You make me blush dear Wendy, I thank you for your generous comments and hope I can continue to bring a little bit of magic into your mornings.

Now for the frustrating bit: I AM OUT OF PAINT. Okay, well... not ALL paint. But the most important colors I need are nearly gone, particularly burnt umber, lamp black, and pure white. I am going to have to wait for my next paycheck till I can get more. So very maddening, just when I am biting at the bit to paint.


 
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danlovestikis
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Jun 17, 2002
Posts: 4816
Posted: 2013-08-27 1:41 pm   Permalink

tiger, while you are still blushing I want you to know that today I cleaned out my acrylic paints and I'm sending you all that I don't need. I didn't have "pure" white so you'll get Titanium White and the Black is called Ivory. I only had transparent burnt umber to send. There's a bunch more for your future projects. Now I can say I'm a benefactor of the arts! We'll get it shipped to you tomorrow. Enjoy, Wendy
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tigertail777
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 25, 2004
Posts: 671
From: Oregon
Posted: 2013-08-27 4:04 pm   Permalink

Oh my gosh Wendy... you are too kind. I don't know what to say other than I really appreciate you doing this for me. What an unexpected surprise. Thanks so much!

 
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danlovestikis
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Jun 17, 2002
Posts: 4816
Posted: 2013-08-27 4:37 pm   Permalink

Hi Tiger, the tubes are all packed and ready for tomorrow. It will be fun for me if any of it makes it onto your magnificent painting. Hugs, Wendy
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cy
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 10, 2011
Posts: 853
From: Gresham, Oregon
Posted: 2013-08-28 07:40 am   Permalink

So much great work!

 
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