Donato Giancola has released his second art instruction video, chronicling the creation of his recent painting of “Joan of Arc.”
The 4.5 hour production is the second by cameraman and editor Aaron Fagerstrom (previously they chronicled a science fiction painting called "The Mechanic."). It was shot over a
three five day period in Donato’s Brooklyn studio, and unspools with Donato’s narration explaining his thinking each step of the way.
The project begins with the artist explaining his inspiration for the character, who captured his imagination when he visited France a few years ago. He reviews a few pages of sketches on tone paper, explaining the concept and composition.
He then reviews the results of his photography session with a model posing for Joan. As she gazes upward, a tight cluster of other figures, members of the clergy and nobility, tug at her and hold her down.
Donato puts the photos of his models in Photoshop to form a large photomontage printed out at the size of the finished painting, and then transfers it down onto the smooth gesso surface and seals the surface to prepare for the paint.
This part of the sequence takes up the first hour. The remaining three hours follow his painting procedure. He is inspired by Peter Paul Rubens and Anthony Van Dyck, and he applies layers of semi-opaque paint over contrasting colors laid down in acrylic over the pencil drawing.
(Video Link) This trailer shows some of the artistry of the video, but Donato's spoken commentary is muted here, so you don't get the sense of Donato's encouraging explanation of what he's doing. The vibe is relaxed, friendly, and unscripted, and the sound and images are well recorded.
If you play it in the background while you’re working in the studio, you end up feeling like you’ve spent a few days hanging out in the studio with a leading contemporary realist, who is reaching for great themes of history and imagination, and sharing the details of his process with the rest of us.