My Own Little Blow-Up (1966)

          My latest painting is a small canvas (20×24) based on a digital photo that I shot at El Camino Memorial Park. There is a hill there with a really steep slope looking down across a rim of pines and tangles of undergrowth. This is spanned by the green belt of a well maintained grass lawn. Using my Panasonic DMC-XF3 camera, I set the lens to macro and then zoomed-in as close as possible looking downhill to the far edge of the field. The resulting picture below is about 200 yards away. Originally, I was intrigued with the dark areas between the almost blue trees. Of course, shooting a hand-held photo this far away made the picture uniformly out-of-focus, but I’m more concerned with the color shapes anyway! As I progressively blew this photo up for closer study I began to notice something strange.

Original Photo

          When I examined the grassy knoll, middle-right, I noticed two critters… one on the grass and the other at the edge of the bushes. The one in the bushes has prominent ears, but at this distance would be far too large to be a rabbit or hare. I have seen deer and kit foxes here at El Camino before, so anythings possible!

Kit Foxes?

            Finally, I was dumbfounded when I took a good look at the big blue tree on the left. For there, without a doubt, was an image of an old man looking right back at me from the side of a trunk! Amazing… I’ll have to include the Old Tree Man in the finished painting!

Old Tree Man

            So first I sketched some rough lines in blue pencil to anchor a few main elements. Then I painted the preliminary design in blue wash using a small fine brush . As you can see below, I’m starting to fill in some of the background colors… shades of darker greens. Also, I’ve under-painted the tree limbs in blue, which will hopefully glow thru the over-paint when finished.

"Still Return" ~ Preliminary

        Blow-Up (or Blowup) is a 1966 film directed by Michelangelo Antonioni about a photographer, played by David Hemmings, who believes he may have witnessed a murder and unwittingly taken photographs of the killing. This film is a must see. Even the Yardbirds show up in the last third performing at an underground club. Watch Jimmy Page wail as Jeff Beck destroys his amp and guitar! Highly recommended…

Original Movie Poster ~ 1966

About sidestreetsam

Sam Hallmark ~ Graphic Designer ● Conceptual Design ● Animation ● Multi-Media ● Music ● Desert Wind Graphics was established in 1994 as an affordable graphic design solution for a wide range of clients. From conceptual media, storyboards, print collaterals, logo design, multi-media presentations, animation, engineering, technical, marketing , advertising and corporate image packages, Desert Wind Graphics will fulfill your design needs for projects both big and small. With over twenty-five years of design experience I can provide you with access to a unique skill set that will deliver your project on time, within budget and on target! Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have regarding your graphic design needs.
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3 comments on “My Own Little Blow-Up (1966)

  1. Seeing is believing! I believe your seeing is on the right track if you discover this many layers in a simple photograph. Unintended discovery is my favorite part of the creative process. I can’t wait for the finished painting to emerge(although I think the preliminary is beautiful and complete in its own way). Remind me on Sunday to bring my youngest youngun’s latest art into rehearsal on Monday. You two are on the same wavelength with regards to tree interpretation. You’re amazing Samwell.
    Maraca Man

    • Thanks so much, Chris, for your kind words and keen observations regarding the all-elusive creative process. It’s always a thrill looking at childrens’ art… the way they create beautiful artwork by intuition instead of acquired skill is always a humbling experience for an adult artist. Just try and draw like “a child” and you’ll know what I’m talking about!

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