Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Combination of Two Ideas

22" x 28" oil on board

22" x 28" oil on board. Completed in 2000 + Orange Head Study

Over a decade ago, I painted a still life with objects given to me while being apart of an art club. It was a fun idea and it got all of us painting the same items, but with our own interpretations. At the end, we had a group show and everyone could see the other artist's creations and arrangements of the still life objects. The show was called "Still Life in Motion". I did the following painting for it.

22" x  28" oil on board. Completed 2000
I enjoyed being apart of the show as it really got me excited about painting and gave me some creative parameters to work within. I also met some amazing artists and gained some great friends out of the club. As an art teacher, I love these sorts of show ideas and projects because it gets people thinking and creating. The results are typically not quite as important to me as the process and ideas and getting artists together to talk about art and to brainstorm is always fun.

However, in the end, no one bought my painting at the reception (although receptions full of artists tend to result in low sales..haha). I wondered at the time if it was because I bought the grapes from Hobby Lobby and they were plastic and I painted them to look, well, like plastic. Many years later a friend asked me if she could hang it in her church's library. I gave it to her and quickly forgot about it for over a decade.

About 6 months ago, my brother said "Oh, I have a painting for you". I was genuinely interested because I had no idea what he could be referring to. Here comes this painting back into my life again. Apparently there were church renovations going on and the painting no longer had a home. My friend told my brother that she was worried that it might get damaged and wanted to make sure I got it back safely. That is very kind. But when I looked at it now, I thought "YIKES...this is really bad!" Then the next thought was "Oh dear God! I have to take this awful thing home!"

I got great amusement looking at it again. I suppose, at the time, I was just hoping people wouldn't mind the candelabra being uncomfortably cut right down the candle or perhaps that ellipses didn't really have to be painted convincingly. I was also unimpressed with my drapery which was a silky cloth that I just painted so opaquely that it looks more like a heavy bedspread. The candles were not lit because my husband wasn't so sure that I might not burn down the house since I tend to get distracted fairly easily. Hahaha....

I thought to myself  "Great, I can have this painting haunting my studio". Then I realized that it was time for this painting to go, but why would I want to burden a Goodwill with it? Don't I know, deep down that no one else wants this in their home either? So, I took out my painting exercise from awhile ago: The man with the orange background.

16" x 20" color study
So, what would happen if I merged the background of a still life from my former painting life with the explorations of portraiture that I am currently interested in? Wouldn't that be the same as creating interesting texture in the background, just as John suggested? Notice the color study has no interesting texture, although it has better brush handling.

Honestly, the first mark is the hardest. I had to take that still life out of the frame, clean it off, etc. Then I took an enormous amount of cadmium red light mixed with cadmium orange medium and started blocking out the head.

Then there is that moment when you realize that you have completely ruined the 'finished' painting. Now, since I hated it anyways, it started to become fun to get rid of those lame grapes. It was very difficult to paint a portrait over a dark still life without gessoing any of it. But I just kept at it.

Well...after much time and much cadmium can see the results.

Do you think a church would like to hang this one up for another decade or so?

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