Thursday, August 13, 2009

serious stuff

I've been enjoying this last week in the studio, working on a real, live large painting again. I've done an awful lot of small drawings in the past 18 months or so but there's nothing quite like using big brushes with lots of luscious paint. Added to that has been the challenge of working on paper. I ended up using 300gsm Arches Cover which I cut down to 30" x 40" and attached to a canvas of the same size for support. Then I masked the image area with blue painter's tape.

Halfway through the process (click to enlarge WIP mosaic to the left) I discovered I'd made a major oops. This painting is for a Texas spa and is based on an earlier painting. As you can see, the earlier one has a small, stylized cow skull in the upper left corner. To help deal with the vertical-to-horizontal conversion problem I decided to enlarge the skull and make it more detailed/prominent. I even took the cow skull I got in Alberta last summer out of my garden and propped it up on Coco's studio bed, much to her chagrin, so I could 'paint from death' so to speak. I guess I should have cleared the alteration first as it turns out the designer of the space has nixed cow skulls; the images need to be soothing for the spa clients. I understand that but since I was on a roll I decided to finish it anyway. I don't know what to do with it now, though. It would need a very large custom frame to make it display-worthy, which is not currently something I can budget for.

In other news, Manitoba's Communicator of the Year (and blogger/mentor/writer/leader extraordinaire) Heather Plett has started a new and inspiring web project called What Are You Giving Away? I was fortunate enough to be her first guest blogger. (Warning: for once I ignored Oscar Wilde's belief that "
Life is much too important a thing to talk seriously about.") I think Heather is really onto something with this idea.


Blogger dinahmow said...

I like the skull! But I would, wouldn't I?
I had a biggish print once that I couldn't afford to frame and I ended up chopping it into smaller pictures and framed 3(or maybe 4)as smaller works.

13/8/09 3:01 p.m.  
Blogger denise said...

Such a shame they don't like the skull, it makes a compelling composition and stunning painting.

13/8/09 4:07 p.m.  
Blogger Costescu said...

I love the skull as well - I think totally adds drama to the piece and really works for the composition. The original did have a skull, just not so prominant. Too bad they did not say so ahead of time but then if they had you would not have ended up with this amazing painting :)

I really like the reds & oranges, so rich! I just bought some acrylics the other day and am reading up on glazing but would have never thought you would start with a dark underpainting to get such beautiful reds!

It looks like you managed to overcome the paper challenge very well, seems so odd that they would want it on paper on a canvas...hmm.

13/8/09 5:17 p.m.  
Blogger Costescu said...

Oh I forgot to ask, where did you get the paper from and did you enjoy using it once you got used to it or do you prefer the canvas?

13/8/09 5:21 p.m.  
Blogger andrea said...

Dinah: Chopping it up! Sacrilege! Mincing it, however, might go better in a sauce.

Denise: The paintings are similar but the skull definitely is the focal point in this painting whereas it was barely even identifiable in the first. I think it's the best part, but then I'm thinking like a painter, not a designer, and need to re-focus on that.

Tracey: There's something cliche about a cowskull painting in Texas -- I'm guessing they're trying to avoid that. As for me, I can't help but love the dramatic shape. It doesn't say death or decay to me at all because I'm mostly looking at it form a visual drama pov. As for the canvas, I just used that as a painting support as I didn't have a big enough board! Only the paper will be framed/matted. I do prefer canvas but the paper was surprising;y solid. I got it at Opus but only the Granville Island store sells the large sheets.

13/8/09 10:16 p.m.  
Blogger Laure Ferlita said...

Gorgeous work! Love the depth of your colors.

Not sure of the reason, but there is one as to why this is working out the way it is! You'll know in due time.

14/8/09 10:06 a.m.  
Blogger Heather Plett said...

Thanks for the kind words about me and my site. I'm blushing. :-)

I love the painting and (like I've said before) I'm always glad when you show process shots!

14/8/09 4:35 p.m.  
Blogger catnapping said...

I agree. The skull is wonderful work, and what's not soothing about cattle skulls?

Bleached bones are soothing, dammit. They're cool to touch - very tactile, and in your make texture for the eye...whenever I see your work, my fingers can feel your lines...the depth and breadth of history waiting to be touched.

15/8/09 10:36 a.m.  
Blogger ArtPropelled said...

Maybe I'm strange but I find this painting soothing.

15/8/09 11:38 a.m.  
Blogger andrea said...

Hey all -- most of you are artists. You need to start thinking like DESIGNERS. That's what I'm learning. :) (And thanks!)

17/8/09 7:52 p.m.  
Blogger Peter said...

I'm just catching up on your blog ... those colours are totally gorgeous! I love earth colours (I'm an earth-sign) but those are exceptionally rich.

18/8/09 7:10 a.m.  

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