Sunday, January 30, 2011

Gene Pool Roulette, or Undertow

ImageThis speaks to me about the maternal - the womb where it all  the begins. Robin, who's wearing goggles and underwater, suggested the title Hereditary Undertow. Hmm.
Did one version of the face on the upper left and then scraped it of
 Really struggled with Emily's face in the upper left. I had to wipe off the first attempt completely. Put in a shape that seemed so wrong. Once it was dry I re-drew the chalk grid in that one place and that showed me it was about fifth too big and wrongly positioned. Placed the eyes nose and mouth with chalk and painted for about three hours.
This is the second version and I feel like it's going to work. I can get there from here. I am reminding myself that I paint like I write - rough start, then lots of editing and fiddling until layers of detail make it worth seeing.

I am saving all the water detail for desert.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Onward and Upward - triple self portrait

After spending a month gestating ideas and doing preliminary photography and drawings,  I'm back in front of the easel with multiple canvases in progress. I switch around depending upon what's wet and what inspires me on any given morning.This post is about a self portrait. It's new territory, but I have got the strongest pull to do it. I just hope it works.
Here's an image of the 1646 triple self portrait by Johannes Gumpp that initially inspired me. His central image of the painter that's painting himself from a mirror image is very featureless, just a bit of his white collar and his hair break the dark shape.
My version is me painting a self portrait by looking in a mirror, where I see myself at 20 years old, but the portrait I am painting shows my actual age of 60.  This speaks to the fact that I do not see my aged self in the mirror. The exception is if I catch an unintentional glimpse of myself out in some store. I never recognize that old woman as me and it's always a shock. 
For the young self, I'm using a photo taken in 1970.  I remember taking the photo very clearly - what I was thinking, how my hair was pinned up, the way I held my shoulders - there's even a kind of muscle memory to draw on. made a lot of effort to duplicate a photo, getting as close as I could to the angle and attitude of the original.

I'll paint a 16x16" canvas of the 60 year old me first. It's what I'll work from when I do the big triple portrait. Spent the morning drawing. Used graphite and chalk for the grid and a few highlights. It's a starting point.
 I made myself dizzy trying to work out the bit about reversed reflected images and what that meant to my composition. I claim artistic license.
The most pleasant surprise is the establishing photo of the back view came out much more interesting than I thought it would.
I knew it was going to be complicated but I have a plan. It's good to have a plan.