Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I've turned in the six small (5x5") works for the audition to be in the Dalton gallery's All Small Redux show. I'll know by Dec 16 whether they were accepted.

I'm now working on the four small (8x8") paintings that are a twist on 17th century Delft tiles that feature children at play. The thing that hooked me is that the pastimes then and now are the same - swings, skating, dancing, archery, dolls. The other intriguing element is the figures are very small and centered on a pale neutral field.

Instead of tiny Dutch children, I wanted to use contemporary American figures. First I pulled Dick and Jane (of the eponymous beginning reader books) images off of the Internet, then I looked through old childrens' books. I kept making drawings, but something, some personal spark was missing.

I had an aha moment a couple of days ago. I have thousands of photographs of children. I am using my own children (and one of me, at age five).

I spent many hours sifting through our photo albums and shoe boxes of photos. I found maybe ten to twelve good references to work with. I took the finalists to Kinkos and made copies reduced or enlarged so that the figures were approx two inches high (that's the ratio in the original Delft tiles of figure to tile size). Today I edited down the choices to four - it may change again, but right now it's Robin on the swings, Emily rollerskating, Parker with a bow and arrow and me cradling a doll.

Having a wonderful time with the subtle neutrals and the cracked, chipped, and worn surfaces of the tiles. I have a couple of layers of nicely mottled paint and two canvases have the crusty grouted edges painted. I was able to do considerable detail wet-on-wet. I'm working on distilling the figures into simplified shapes in two shades of Delft blue. I'll start taking photos tomorrow so I can post them when at least one is far enough along.

I hope to have them finished Monday-ish.

1 comment:

  1. tap...tap... tap <-- those are my fingers impatiently waiting to see previews of these paintings.


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