Saturday, October 3, 2009

Thar she blows!

Well, I said I was going to do it, and I finally did!  Several days ago I wrote how I was stuck on this painting - I just couldn't get it to work.  This morning I had a head of steam from a discussion I'd had with a friend which left me bruising for a fight, so I took that energy to the studio and blew it out!  I decided that I wasn't going to be able to make the piece work in the normal way, so I had nothing to lose.  Remember, this sucker is 8 FEET TALL!  It's intimidating!  I have to stand on a platform to reach the top. 

I squeezed out lots of paint - 1/4 tube of some colors - grabbed an odd-shaped palette knife I'd never used before, and went at it. It felt great spreading all that viscous goo, the bold bright colors, the intense lights and darks. I moved the paint around as if I were smearing the paint onto her body, moving with her curves.  Palette knives are completely different to paint with than brushes are.  Subtleties are not the point.  It really makes me paint loosely - perfect when I have a lot of emotions I'm trying to work out of my system.

The background was the last thing I did. It had been a pretty flesh color, but that just wasn't working - it needed color that worked with the intensity of the flesh, so I chose cerulean blue (the complement of orange) and some other blues for strongest contrast. I used lots of turpentine so it would drip and do all kinds of uncontrollable stuff, then at the end I flung orange and yellow paint at it. That ended up looking like she was flinging sweat as she danced. Love it!

This large picture doesn't capture the strokes very well unfortunately.  It looks somewhat washed out and crude.  I'm also inserting some detail shots because I think they show the painting better.  The color is more accurate and the brush strokes are more evident.

Interestingly, the other painting I did of this same woman is also in bright colors with a blue background - those are the only two paintings I've done like that so far.  It must be something about her energy in the pictures that causes me to reach for palette knives and blue backgrounds.  I've inserted the other picture of her too.  The body isn't done with the palette knife, but it certainly has the hot, hot colors and the jazzy background.  There's also a snazzy light line around her body to add some ca-ching and energy to it. 

When I photographed this model, she danced the whole time.  She loves to go ballroom dancing - it's her passion - and it shows in these pictures.  She wore high-heeled shoes and danced and snapped and twirled and spun the whole time.  Wonderful energy!

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