Tuesday, August 17, 2010


When I am preparing to paint a new picture. I start with an idea. Often it is a spin off from a biblical story. I often wonder what happened to some of the women in the Bible. How they dealt with tragedies. Women seem to have a lot of subversive power in the Bible. And I like to rethink what that power means.

After selecting a story and fantasizing about the in between moments. I begin looking for inspirations visual, poetic and musical. For my feminist saints series, I usually unite master sculpture, iconography, and photographs to picture their stories.
Collage of inspirations for my current project
I am not yet an accomplished draughtswoman, but the next step is still essential.  I make a series of concept drawings to work out figures, composition, tone, and colors. When making smaller paintings, I often skip most of these steps because recoloring things that don't work on a small panel isn't a big setback. However, my current project is five feet tall. I need to be very prepared for this canvas.
Conceptual sketches of figure, tone, composition, and color.
I haven't started on the large canvas yet. I must admit, I am a bit scared to. However, satisfactory preparations will make the final project go faster and more smoothly than if I jumped straight in out of a misguided sense of haste. Might as well do it right the first time, rather then spend hours fixing hurried mistakes. Above you can see two different color sketches, the smaller one was the colors I had originally thought would work, I even went out and purchased Naples Yellow Hue--that was a mistake, when I put it next to Iron Oxide, I realized Naples Yellow Hue is Iron Oxide with white added. And my original color plan was unbalanced. A deep blue sky will be more balancing and compliment the figure's scarlet dress better than a light sky.

During one of my consultations with trusted advisers (My husband, roommates and brother usually oblige), My brother pointed out that my sketches are much like the sketches of masters like Dali, in that they are ugly and messy. However, those sketches still sell because they have the name attached. But truly these initial sketches are for the artist, to work out problems and to make the final product a masterpiece. Although now and then a sketch turns out to be quite nice in its own right.

No comments:

Post a Comment