Saturday, January 19, 2008

This time I managed to rip myself away by steely will power and take photos along the way. LOL. You might notice a difference in colour on the examples. Neither is correct. the original has the crimson red of step two but the brightness of those that looks more orange. The original has NO orange tint. Problem is that I either have to use the flash and then I get that yellowish orange tint or not use flash and lose the brightness of the painting. I will try again tomorrow in natural light. Unfortunately due to rain as well as it being winter proper daylight has been hard to find.

Step 1
For this painting I did not want the white canvas as the base to paint on These kinds of artist canvas panel boards are primed with acrylics before you buy them - sometimes twice or three times. That means that me using acrylics for another layer before starting with the oils works fine.

Usually I make it all black - several layers, but sometimes I thin the black out and use it for first sketches to get an idea of the composition. here as you can see the idea is for a corner of a room with an abstract person sitting in the "shame on you"-corner like they used to have in old schools and in old ways of child rearing.

I also indicated some the corner itself and some texture to the walls and the floor. Whether that would be the end texture or shape of the figure, that is not decided at this point.

Neither is the style completely decided. I might at this stage go for a more realistic figure and focus on right porportions and similar and make it fairly realistic. Then I would be left with choices as to how detailed to paint the face and what clothes and all such things.

The next challenge was what colours to go for. If I wanted the realistic look, then the walls and the floor had to be realistic too and if I wanted to continue the texture of wall and floor wooden paneles like the ones you find in houses from around 1950 then I would have to chose wooden colours.

Step 2
In the end I decided to go for more symbolic than realistic style and focus on the emotion of shame and feeling exposed and humiliated and alone.

So what colour symbolises that? Of course red is the colour of such feelings. We get warm and we turn red in the face and on the ears.

I therefore covered the entire painting with alizarin crimson red after a thin layer of painting medium.

Step 3
I then started working on the background and began with the walls. Most people nowadays and especially not teachers do not use this method any more even though some might use other means to humiliate their students.

Anyway, this being from the "old days" I wanted to make the background like any very basic schoolhouse in the country in the old days. That is untreated or painted wooden panels. Most of my house which is from the 1950s is made by using this narrow wooden panels.

The way I wanted to create this effect was to focus on painting with a narrow brush downwards over and over and the last layer one downward stroke at a time - each stroke covering partly the previous one. That way I indicated that structure. Again if I had chosen the realistic painting style I would then have had to show the twirls and holes and all which makes such panel looking great when unpainted. But again the walls is not the focus - they are only supporting the symbolism.

Step 4
Same stage in two photos one taken with flash so that you can see the details better. Then of course you get the reflections. Wet paint is hard to take photos of, especially when there is dark parts too.

The floor was decided on in very much the same manner as the walls. Normally such panels would have been paralell to either wall but my focus is the corner so I chose to make them diagonal and kind of point towards the corner.

Step 5
Painting the figure itself. I am now firmly decided on making this painting symbolic but still at this stage I could have changed my mind and done the figure more realistic. I am very happy I made the choices I made because This is EXACTLY how I would have wanted it to turn out. Now I really got the pay for practising chinese brush painting where every brush stroke counts and can not be erased. One bad stroke and I would have had to scrape of and wipe off and start all over again. I felt great when I saw the result.

Final Step
Now I had the biggest challenge of all LOL How much "piddling in my puddle" as an artist friend calls it would I do. The time had come to fix the tiny details. The problem is that a tiny tad too much piddling and the painting is overworked and loses its freshness and is basically nearly ruined if you're unlucky. One of my weaknesses is my need to just fix a tiny bit more and a tiny bit more. Today or rather tonight :-) (03.46 here) I forced myself not to do that.

The final decition is where to put signature, how big and what colour to use. You want it to show clearly but also not to interfear with the painting etc etc. What is left now is to put it somewhere safe from 3 cats fighting and similar while it dries.

Again two versions here to allow you to see the prosess better.


blh said...

A GORGEOUS abstract that can be interpreted in so many different ways, not merely in the way that the artist thinks of it or thought of it while painting it. This painting encourages the viewer to think for himself or herself, at least it does this for me. This is my favorite type of painting, the ambiguous type, from which the viewer can draw so many varied emotions!

blh said...
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Trine said...

I agree - I have received several. That is something I love about abstracts myself