This picture all started ages ago when a took some photos of steam boilers at Tanfield railway. Tanfield railway is the most amazing scrapyard come museum where they turn a blind eye to you climbing all over rusting hunks of dilapidated steam trains.
I thought the boiler had a sort of robotic look so I split it in half on photoshop and made this comp to try and capture the look of a deflated and dejected robot so sick of his own existence or so tired after a hard life of serving his human masters that he could barely hold the weight of his own head any more.
I started out with acrylic on hard board and tried to get some of the shapes in, I was working at my now long gone studio space so I had plenty of peace and quiet and very few distractions.
The mood is starting to fall in place here but the colour is no where near strong enough for what I was thinking.
I think here that I had tried to follow the photo too faithfully and the piece had suffered. I think you should only use photos to inform the painting never let them dictate what it will be in the end. After all I should just be a photographer if I wanted the image to look like a photo. I was happy with the way the composition was going but the picture was definitely very lacking in dynamic and colour at this stage.
I made the switch to oils here and started to add some wild gold titanium aspect to the surface of the robot, maybe a rusting corroding bronze tint to his flesh. I also removed the arm on the left as it didn't fall correctly with how I imagined the anatomy of a robot would work.
I was definitely getting some good vibes at this point but I thought the face was a bit forever knights from Ben Ten and the background lacked a little in the contrast department.
Here it is all finished, I really like how the lighting came out in this, the way the head melts in to the rays of light from above and how the light breaks through the rafters. Happy Days. The greens on the dials and instrumentation are a little wild but as a whole I think it just about works.