Sunday, September 19, 2010

Patterns and Faux Fur Follies

Yesterday and today I've had a lot of fun working on Faux Fur Follies.  I had worked it to a certain point about a month ago then literally turned the canvas around so I could have a new look at it later.  When I turned it around a couple of days ago, I decided that the pattern on the wall was too large in scale so I divided it up a lot more and painted in those pieces.  The second picture shows that.  Today I tackled the right hand wall.  I could have left it how it was, but I had an image in my mind of my friend surrounded by patterns, her face, hand, leg, and foot, standing out from all the zaniness.

I painted the right hand side at least 5 different times, wiping away the paint many times when I didn't like how it looked.  It's a lot easier to paint a realistic picture - I have an image, I'm trying to copy it, I know it when I get there because it looks like the picture.  When I paint abstractly or patterns like this, it's more difficult to know when the piece is "right" or finished.  I'm not convinced this is finished, though I'm feeling fairly good about it.  Though, writing that, I just got another idea.  Yes, well.

I'm definitely becoming enamored with patterns and the energy they add to a piece.  They're fun to paint.  The breakthrough for me was seeing Greig Leach at the Monster Drawing Rally at 1708.  He paints with oil sticks and showed me how to use them.  I immediately went out and bought about a dozen of them.  They're terrific for drawing lines, something I have trouble doing with a brush because it's hard for me to get the paint the right consistency.  The oil sticks are like a big fat crayon but are oil paint so are completely compatible with paint as well.  I haven't figured them out compeltely, but I am liking what I can do with them so far! 

My inspiration for including patterns in my paintings is Gustav Klimt, one of whose pictures is on the right.  I have a ways to go before my patterns are as exquisite and elaborate as his are, but that's OK - it's good to have something to aspire to - not that I would copy him, but he gives me more ideas.  His work is amazing!  I have always loved patterns and doodle whenever I'm in a meeting, but couldn't figure out how to incorporate them into my other artwork.  The model above practically begged me to play with images of her and explore the possibilities - she's an awesome, bold, carefree, dynamite woman who inspires me daily - so I felt permission to let my imagination rove.  I'm loving the results and plan to continue in this vein!

The next pictures are other ones I did with patterns in mind.  I had asked another model if I could paint a certain image of her.  She wasn't quite comfortable with it, but she said she'd be OK if I would abstract it somewhat or turn it one way or another, so I did.  I played with it in photoshop to crop it then put it through some filters until I had an image I was curious about.  The blue one on the left is my drawing from those explorations.

After doing that pastel drawing, I had the composition in my brain so I quickly created an impromptu drawing with the same elements but, obviously, very different colors and a very distinct energy.  It was very fun!  I enjoy working drawings up very carefully like I did on the left, but it is equally enjoyable to take the image and throw off a rendition of it quickly after having become so familiar with it beforehand.

This is the third image I've done lately using patterns.  It's called "Don't Mess with Me!"  I love the power of this woman and how bold she was to let me capture it!

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