Archive for the ‘surreal’ Category

The Ghost Girl of Willowglen Manor

January 20, 2013

I finished this project, “The Ghost Girl of Willowglen Manor”.

I started to get a little crazy in the foreground but painted over some of the weird ice-landscape I had made – I’ll save that for another painting. I really love unplanned weird plant life and strange rocks and stuff…the other project I am working on now has a lot of that too.

This is oil on canvas board, 14×18 inches:


The Ghost Girl of Willowglen Manor

The Ghost Girl of Willowglen Manor


This was a relatively quick and simple painting compared to my other works. I didn’t keep track of the hours like I normally do so I’m really not sure how long I spent on it, but probably 8  to 12 hours over about 3 months.

Here’s the previous post about this painting: Ghost Girl work in progress


Ghost Girl work in prog

December 12, 2012

Although I haven’t posted in a while, I have indeed been doing stuffs…here’s one of the projects I’m workin’ on.

Not sure what this one will be called but for now I’m calling it Ghost Girl. I started it at a party a few weeks ago where I was doing some live painting.

Ghost Girl WIP 12-12-12

Ghost Girl WIP 12-12-12


I normally keep a lot of notes on my projects but on this one since it’s supposed to be quick I’m not doing so…therefore I’m not sure how long I’ve been working on it exactly but it’s something like 4 hours. I plan to finish it in another couple sessions. It’s 14×18 inches, oil on canvas board.

This is more colorful than much of my previous work…the greens are Cadmium Yellow Pale Hue mixed with combinations of Mars Black, French Ultramarine, and Cobalt Blue. I wanted the landscape greens to be more drab so they are black and yellow whereas the face is using more of the blue and yellow. Other colors I’ve been using are Phthalo Blue, Yellow Ochre, Raw Umber, Cadmium Red Hue, and Titanium White.

Update: I finished this and realized it’s obviously called The Ghost Girl of Willowglen Manor. Here’s the finished version.


A Chaotic Nocturnal Reverie altered and completed

June 2, 2012

I decided to make some major changes to this painting. I messed with the face a bit more but decided I wouldn’t be happy even if the face was OK since the figure etc were too flawed.I debated this for a while but decided to just paint over the figure completely. I had spent a HUGE amount of time changing the face and figure but painting over it is not going to take away the stuff I learned working on this project – and now I will have a painting I can be happier with.

Here is the full painting:

A Chaotic Nocturnal Reverie

"A Chaotic Nocturnal Reverie" by Airn LeBus, 16x20 inches, oil on canvas, 2012.

Here is a detail view:

A Chaotic Nocturnal Reverie (detail)

A Chaotic Nocturnal Reverie (detail)

My previous posts on this have a lot more info:

Final post on the earlier version



A Country Girl near the Dream City

October 14, 2011

Update: I revised this painting later, new version is here

OK, I finished this a while ago but didn’t post it partly cuz I have been planning for a big Europe trip which I just came back from. I got to see lots of amazing art and scenery and stuff and am now fully inspired and ready to start on some new projects 🙂

I wanted this one to be a fairly quick project and I succeeded in that respect, this took me only about 12 hours to paint – that’s very short for me. It’s 11 x 14 inches, oil on canvas. I call it “A Country girl near the Dream City”:

A Country Girl near the Dream City

A Country Girl near the Dream City

A main goal was to use some atmospheric perspective in the landscape background and to use canvas instead of wood panel to try to get a nice soft feel, especially in the background. I am really happy with the way the landscape turned out and also had fun with the hair, which I did a bit differently this time. Some influences on this one were Tamara de Lempicka, Albrecht Dürer, and Leonardo da Vinci.

I used cobalt blue in the sky, landscape, and clothing. The landscape is mostly yellow ochre and other yellows plus cobalt blue.

I’m not sure how long I spent on the drawing and planning but I started painting on  March 2, 2011 and was done on April 3. I had a show I wanted this to be in so I didn’t putz around – it’s funny how much faster and smarter I work when I have a deadline. Looking back over my notes I had a good time painting this and it went very smoothly with minimal frustration – very nice after a couple recent projects that I kept changing over and over.

Here is the drawing:

Country Girl drawing

Country Girl drawing


After I completed the drawing I xeroxed it in order to preserve the original and rubbed graphite on the back of the copy. I then taped it to the canvas and went over it with a ballpoint pen to transfer the lines onto the canvas. I then went over those faint lines with a fine sepia sharpie and put a thin wash of transparent olive-green (black combined with yellow) acrylic to wash away the graphite and lock everything into place. I then painted everything directly with oils, no glazing or monochromatic underpainting on this one.


Transferring the drawing to canvas

Transferring the drawing to canvas



Duplicitous Dionara and Devious Diandra

March 31, 2011

This is my finished painting “Duplicitous Dionara and Devious Diandra”. It is 11 x 14 inches, oil on wood panel.

Duplicitous Dionara and Devious Diandra

Duplicitous Dionara and Devious Diandra

Duplicitous Dionara and Devious Diandra (detail)

Duplicitous Dionara and Devious Diandra (detail)

For this one I used a monochromatic underpainting / dead layer which I later glazed over in color. Here are the work-in-progress posts I did which include some photos of the dead layer: Duplicitous WIP posts

I spent about 30 hours painting this over about 8 months. I’m not sure how much time I spent doing studies and planning but I would guess 10-15 hours. That’s more than I usually spend planning…it helped me to avoid having to change stuff in the middle of the project.

Overall I spent the most time on the hair. When I first started this project it was supposed to be a quick one…I ended up making the hair complicated though and spent a rather long time on the faces too, so the project ended up being much longer and more complicated than I had expected.

Here are the main oil colors I used for this painting:

Underpainting of flesh areas: Raw umber and titanium white

Flesh tones – glazed and opaque color: Yellow ochre, cadmium red hue, titanium white, raw umber, burnt umber

Dress: Titanium white, phthalo blue, raw umber

Here are a some of the preparatory drawings I did for the hair and dress as well as a detail of the main drawing:

Hair studies for Duplicitous

Hair studies for Duplicitous

Dress studies for Duplicitous

Dress studies for Duplicitous

"Duplicitous" sketch

"Duplicitous" sketch

I don’t look on the studies as being just useful for this painting since they help me increase my drawing skills in general. On the hair I also wanted to learn how to do ringlets and curls better and I’m sure I will use that style in other works.

Dream City Girl 2 – WIP 2

March 23, 2011

This painting is moving along quickly, which is good because I am trying to finish it by next week if possible…in time for my art show. I don’t want to rush it though, so I might decide it’s not gunna happen. Hmm….

Oil on canvas, 11×14 inches.


A Chaotic Nocturnal Reverie

March 22, 2011

I worked on this painting for about a year and recently decided that it’s finally done. I’m calling it “A Chaotic Nocturnal Reverie” and it’s 16 x 20 inches, oil on canvas:

A Chaotic Nocturnal Reverie

A Chaotic Nocturnal Reverie

Initially this painting was going to be for an erotic art show that a friend was having, but over time it ended up being more restrained in that regard and I decided to make it more arcane than profane and stress the psychotic over the erotic.

I spent about 65 hours painting and maybe another 10 to 20 hours on planning and drawing. I had to change the face and figure many times since my original planning had a bunch of issues. I basically painted them over to the point where I could have finished several other similarly-sized paintings in the time I spent on this one. It was worth it though, because I have learned a ton and my next paintings will go much smoother. I have learned a hard lesson about planning and using weird blurry photo figure references that are basically useless and cause more harm than help…next time I might hire a figure model instead.

I also had to radically alter the overall tone of the painting a bunch of times, especially the tombstones, in order to get closer to the overall look and feel I was going for. The sky was probably the only thing that was not painted over a bunch of times, although just like everything else I radically changed it halfway through. One reason I had all these problems is that I was excited to start the painting so I thought I would leave some things to figure out later – that didn’t work out so well this time.

These are the main colors I used:

Flesh tones: Titanium white, raw umber, yellow ochre, cadmium red hue

Landscape: Terre verte, yellow ochre, raw umber, titanium white

Sky / clouds: Mars black, titanium white, ultramarine blue, yellow ochre

In my newest painting I am using cobalt blue and cadmium yellow medium for the greens and am liking that better that the terre verte + raw umber which doesn’t provide much coverage and really sinks in a lot. By “sinks in” I mean it dries out and becomes very matte-looking, so I need to rub oil onto it later to get it to look more glossy like the rest of the painting. I normally need to do that in places anyway but it was more of an issue with this painting than usual.

Here are a couple detail views of the painting:

A Chaotic Nocturnal Reverie (detail 1)

A Chaotic Nocturnal Reverie (detail 1)

A Chaotic Nocturnal Reverie (detail 2)

A Chaotic Nocturnal Reverie (detail 2)

As is often the case, I love parts of this and am loathe to look at other parts…but I guess that is pretty common among artists. Time to start the next project, hopefully learning from this one! I took something like 19 pages of notes on this as I was working on it, so I have plenty of info to digest about what worked well and what I want to avoid next time.

Dream City Girl 2 – WIP

March 21, 2011

Here’s a detail of a new painting I am working on. Right now I am calling it “Dream City Girl 2” since it’s kinda like my Graveyard Girl from the Dream City painting.

It’s 11 x 14 inches, oil on canvas and I’m hoping to finish it within a couple weeks – a super-fast project for me, since most usually end up taking several months.

DCG2 WIP detail

Oh dear…another work in progress

February 8, 2011

Whoa, I haven’t posted anything in months? Oh dang, OK then look at this, it’s almost done.16×20 inches, oil on canvas…not sure what it’s called yet but I refer to it as “Graveyard Boody” in my notes, of which I have 19 8×11 inch pages now, since I have been working on this junk for a year and a month, off and on.I just painted over the face today and will be putting in a new face in a couple days, based on a sketch I did yesterday. I have painted over the face and body many, many times over the past months and have really learned a lot.

Work in prog, detail

Work in prog, detail

Duplicitous work in progress 2

June 5, 2010

Did a lot of research and planning for the clothing on this one, this is after the second session on the dress:

Duplicitous - work in prog 2

Duplicitous - work in prog 2

I’ve found it really difficult to get hi-res photos of the kind of dress I want, to help me figure out how to paint it…I went to a local costume store and they wouldn’t let me take a couple pix so I kept scouring the internet. I collected about 30 photos of dresses and thought I would try to use ideas from a few for my painting. I picked a couple main ones I thought I could learn from and drew them, trying to figure stuff out and build my “drapery vocabulary”. 🙂 After I felt a little more comfortable with the way the fabric might fold and bunch up and how the light should look on it, I tried a full-size study that I would use later with my painting…I just used a 4B pencil. The best ref I had was at an angle so I imagined what it might look like from the front, etc. I had some scraps of fabric I bought but I didn’t find them too useful for this. After doing a lot of this I felt a bit of an epiphany this morning and really felt like I was “getting it”, quite a nice feeling after a lot of minor frustration. 🙂

Probably will put a big ribbon on the dress and maybe some lace…then I need to glaze color over the faces and finish the hair, maybe change the blue background, etc…still have a while on this one. And I thought it would be a quick project, ha!


Some of the studies I did


While workin'