Monday, September 20, 2010

Tying the strands together

Beautiful - Wicked Colors on Titanium 1.75"x5.25"
Each painting is the result of so many different elements coming together all at once. It starts with a simple idea. Sometimes the inspiration for that idea is born from a specific color or a story or even just a texture. Next, visual elements are drawn together, images that act as the reference for the new painting. The images that are used need to fit into the original idea for the work, however occasionally these bits of reference can also change the direction of the final piece. Several photographs can be used to create a single photographic image that did not exist before. Ultimately though, their job is to supply the details in order to tell the story. Even the substrate, paint and finish play a role in the final work.

Take for example the painting ‘Beautiful’ This painting started its life with a call for entry of an art show that featured the human form. That was the first strand in what would create this painting. Over the last few weeks I have been working on a series of paintings using titanium panels as a substrate and that became the second strand.  I had planned on painting an updated portrait of my daughter Emily and that became the third strand. Finally, samples of Wicked paint from Createx arrived to try out. This painting would be a great opportunity to use them. From there it was a matter of pulling together the photographs needed for the reference. The trick here was to get Emily’s eyes lit up by the sun. Not an easy photograph to take in that the only real way to get someone’s eyes lit up by the sun is to actually have them look up at the sun. Not very comfortable and squinting was certainly not the expression I was looking for.

Good Dram -  Createx on board 20"x24"

The answer comes in what can be done with the combination of several reference photographs. It actually happens in my work quite frequently. One painting is actually the result of grafting several different photographs together. Sometimes I leave hints of this as in ‘Good Dram’ which is made up of two different photographic references. The clear Glenfarclas bottles to the upper left and right of the green bottle in the foreground are in fact the same bottle. You see two different angles of the same bottle. Emily’s portrait offered a similar challenge and solution. I needed the pose and expression from one image and the coloring and lighting from another. Here are the two photographs that were grafted together in order to come out with the final image that you see at the top of the blog.

The creation of every painting has these threads flowing though its creation. It is what becomes the translation of the original idea. The level of challenge comes with tying all these threads together into an image that seems as if it had always existed. That is always our challenge as artists.

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