Saturday, May 10, 2014

New Painting 'Hide it from the World' Part 2

'Hide it from the World' is a working title - it may change.  Gotta call it something.  If you have suggestions, let me know.

The small paper you see hanging on the sawhorse next to the painting was my second step on this painting's journey.  I wrote out my own words, and then chose a verse I wanted to finish the painting to give hope.  The words are:

'I move in a living dream, life all around me painfully beautiful, while death, angry and bloody and vivid, lies buried in my soul.  I remember.  Suicide.  Be self controlled and alert.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Resist him.  Stand firm in the faith.  And the God of grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.'  This verse is 1 Peter 5:8.

You see the drips of red paint coming down on my sketch - my original thought was to make the background dark and have her dripping red.  That changed.

This is the first coat of paint on my big canvas.  Already knowing where I wanted her face to go, I centered the red and black around that.  As I went out from that center, my brushstrokes got more noticeable and chaotic, to indicate the chaos going on within her.

The gold layer was meant to be laid down in fast lines, brushy and wild, too, to keep with the tumultous feelings within.  I left spots for the undercoat to show through, and buffed off some of the gold.

Next step - finding source material (searching the internet for photos :) and beginning my sketch.  Believe it or not, this drawing took me almost two hours.  My intent was to have her chin up, to help her hold herself together amidst all the inner turmoil and misery, but still trying to put on a face for the world.  The brushiness of the gold over her face and hair I hope enhance that feeling of imbalance.

There was a little problem with her expression and with her chin up she looked too judgmental, so I shot my sketch off to a friend for a critique.  Thanks, Kim Abbati, for your suggestions!  A little downturn of the lips, a little softening of the eyes, and her expression changed to internal sadness.

Once the newsprint sketch was finished, I simply transferred it to the canvas in the old fashioned way.  Here she is laid in over the second layer of gold.  Now she herself is ready for paint.

New Piece on Suicide Reflections

 This piece is yet another inspired by the suicide experience we've been processing.  My way of processing is to write and paint, and this one incorporates both arts.  It's full of symbolism.

I always carry a little sketchpad in my purse, so I can write and draw at a moment's notice, wherever I am.  Into that little book I scribbled a line which expressed how I felt that day, and then promptly forgot it.
When my sketchpads get full, I comb through them and glean out what I can to create new paintings, get the phone numbers out, find the new store, make the appointment - whatever's there - before I stick them up to become friends with all my other pads.  Checking out my full book, I found this line again, and decided to paint it.

The first thing you notice is the big space around her, which was a really difficult composition for me.  Although unusual, I wanted to give the viewer the feeling that she is alone and separate from the rest of the world, and not only that, but she has separated herself from others to a certain degree.

The first line says 'I move in a living dream, everything around me is painfully beautiful while death, angry and bloody and vivid, lies buried in my soul.'

It goes on to give us hope with a verse about Christ's work for us.

Her face does not reflect that hope, however. My hope was that her expression looked sad and reflective, with her thoughts turned inward.  This is how many walk through their lives, and we never know.  From my experience lately, it's also how survivors of suicide walk.  Everything goes on around them.  Life goes on, but everything is seen through different eyes.

I've given you a couple shots here - I need to take this to my photographer because they're not very good.

The under layer is a brushy red and black.  I wanted the rough strokes to show through because she's feeling rough.  Same with the gold layer on top - I made it brushy and didn't blend it as I laid it down.  The words are inscribed into the gold.

 When it came to her face, I did the same thing, wanting to leave it rough to indicate her raw emotions.  Here's a close up of her face.

It took me a few days of internal debate about the eyes.  No artist worth her salt would paint a face without putting in the 'gleam' of the eyes.  I finally decided upon the dullest gleam I could lay down, because I really wanted her eyes to look dead pan.

Her face is left unfinished because I wanted the red of the background to roughly show through.

Messy hair.  She's not caring about that right now.  Shadows in charcoal and drips symbolizing sadness and depression.
Here's a closeup of a portion.  Some of the drips I wanted to be very dark, and some I wanted to be light and runny, which also represent differing emotions that continually come up.

In my next post, I'll give you the exact words.  Even in the toughest times, we do have a great Hope in Christ!

So far this is untitled.  If you've got any great ideas on that one, let me know!

Traveling Girl, Blue Ribbon, Professional Mixed Media

 This is my painting entitled Traveling Girl, which just won a blue ribbon in the Woodlands Art League judged show.
I took this from a photograph of one of my high school students.  When I saw it, I told her she better paint it, or I would!  We both did!
Since she's a Traveling Girl with her seat belt firmly fastened, I decided to put maps in - and they're maps of many of my favorite places.  Artist's prerogative. :)
Also into the piece I incorporated pieces of flute music from some musical theatre show I did, and collage material from many sources.  The music represents a happy trip, because to me, driving on a sunny day with some far flung destination, listening to music is always a cherished time.

While I was working on it, my daughter came running to my studio with her hands full of a broken fingernail polish bottle, contents dripping all over.  At that point, it looked like another pigmented medium, so the side of my girl's face is covered with sparkly, pink nail polish.  Just seemed right to add that sparkle since she's in the bright sunshine.
The last thing I added was the earring.  I found it on the sidewalk down by Hubble and Hudson.  Not sure, but I think it's part of someone's wristwatch.  Thank you, mysterious broken-watch person!