When I worked traditionally, Prismacolors were my best friends. I would lay in the underpainting and then basically do the whole picture in Prismas. Then I would drybrush over it using a Windsor Newton Series 7 size 3 brush with acrylic paint. Millions and millions of tiny x’s. And even if I was doing a painting 30″ x 40″, the x’s remained the same size. Basically the Prismacolor would create the fine blending between the acrylic and the underpainting, without worrying about making the paint being that refined. But the Prismas didn’t have the intensity or the punch of the acrylics, so the acrylic layer was always a necessity.
I did come up with a way to do more with the Prismas, and give them more opacity. One night my Prismas fell into a cup of water. They sat in there for several minutes before I noticed. When I rescued them and tried to use them, the colors had become soft and mushy. They went on almost like paint. When they dried out, they were back to normal, but I had liked the softer, paint feel, so I got a cup of water and would dip my Prismas into that while I worked in order to keep them soft. They remained very opaque, even when the color dried on my painting.
Things were great until one night, with the painting due in the morning. I had spent a week doing the job, and I was really happy with how it was looking, so I wanted to make it extra special. I decided it would look so much cooler if I took it out in the hallway and sprayed it with Krylon Crystal Clear. That always made paintings look like they had a resin coating on them, like little jewels. I was finished early, so I went out there and sprayed away. Of course the lighting wasn’t very good in the hallway, but the painting looked beautiful all sparkly like that. I left it out there to dry and went in to clean up so I could go home and get some sleep.
When I brought the painting into my studio to admire it, I thought my eyes were over-tired. It seemed as if everything was blurry. That’s when I realized that Krylon Crystal Clear dissolves Prismacolor. If you worked in Los Angeles around that time, you might have heard me scream. What had taken a good part of four days to accomplish, now was gone and had to be reproduced in about 5 hours, and me with no sleep. Have you ever noticed that you can paint something the second time around so much faster than you did the first time? Like when my computer crashes and I have forgotten to back up my work for five hours. I can redo it in one hour. Amazing.
So, that is what happened with my illustration for the book Radio Eyes that I was doing for Roger Carpenter and Stewart Weiner. Still one of my favorite paintings.