Saturday, March 27, 2010

Valley's Folds

Yesterday was one of the most focused days I've had in the studio in a while.  I don't have any canvases prepared (Chris has been VERY busy lately with work and hasn't had time to make them, plus I finished two canvases all of a sudden at once) so I decided to do some pieces in pastel.  I hadn't worked in pastel in quite a while, since doing Scar and Scarf which I did last year sometime.  I remember at the time being very excited to be working in pastels again, but I didn't do more than that.  What I liked about it was how skilled I feel in it and how well I was able to evoke the texture of not only her skin, but also her felted scarf.  It's an almost abstract piece, difficult to read, but beautiful despite/because of that.

A couple of days ago when I realized I was out of canvases, I decided to begin a piece for my collaboration show coming up at Randolph Macon College in February 2011.  I've already photographed the model and am beginning to work on the pieces.  I'm very excited about this show.  I think I've written about it before, so I won't explain it again, but Valley Haggard, a wonderful woman and just as wonderful writer is my collaborator in the project.  She'll be writing about her process as my model - what it's like for her to think about being photographed and painted, how the photography process is, how it is to see the work as it happens - what it's like to immortalized on canvas and/or paper.  I'm loving working with her because she's so aware of her feelings and open about sharing them.  We seem to be on the same wavelength, so our collaboration is turning out to be richer than my individual efforts would be without it.  It's a great experience!

So...  the first piece I did in pastel is called Valley's Folds, a play on her name as well as the landscape/abstract feeling of the piece.  I'm delighted by the broad range of colors and textures as well as the composition.  There are perhaps 15 layers of color which all interact with each other at the subconscious level to give a vast richness of skin and shadow tones.  It's not possible to reproduce it on the computer screen because it and the camera reproduce only a few of the layers. 

Valley has a wonderful scar on her side and back which is one of the subjects of this piece.  I believe she will be writing about it as part of her response to the process.  I look forward to seeing how it corresponds to my response to it.

Collaboration is very cool!

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