Tuesday, June 26, 2012

What Can Be Found In Shadows (Be Happy)

What Can Be Found In Shadows (Be Happy)
acrylic on paper, moleskine notebook

It's all a mystery, to me, this process of creating.

I never know what I'm going to end up with, even though I have a plan and an idea. Even thought I think I know what is going to happen when I sit down to create, I never do.

So although creating is a mystery... I have become the detective, following the clues and searching out the next truth. Just like an episodic mystery show... I find the solution to this mystery, and another mystery is laid out before me, like a cliffhanger, hooking me into the next show.

I had the idea of a woman lost in flowers, or coming out of flowers. I remember seeing something on pinterest, and pinned it, but didn't go back to it when I started drawing.

 And then when I wanted to paint something this morning and took out my moleskine, there was this drawing ready to be drawn. It wasn't what I planned, but I followed the clue.
 Then I thought about an under painting. I wanted to use pink, but I also wanted to have blue shadows, but I wanted them to be subtle... so...
 And I knew I wanted to work with black, dark brown and cream, along with the pink of the flowers that I had planned. And this is also when I added the pink to the face, it echoes the flowers as well as giving that blushing look. For some reason, I made the skin around the eyes pink. Perhaps it was just a whim, or perhaps somewhere in my head, I wanted the tenderness of pink eyes, like white rabbits, or girls who have been crying.
 Then I started to add in the green for the foliage. Although I like a limited palette, I knew I wanted a lot of green, and wanted it to look loose and irregular.  I'll tell you a little secret here...instead of just randomly adding green for the leaves, I wrote words, very loosely all over the background. I wrote "be happy" in messy script, in many directions, overlapping the other words. You can't see it at all, I checked. It just looks like loosely painted foliage. And actually, I probably added more green than I would have if I hadn't written it on there. I also added another shade of rosy/browny pink to the roses for shadows and to the face, also.

This is also where I striped her shirt. I didn't want the foliage to take over her shirt, but I also didn't want it black. I'm really pleased with the stripe. It adds a graphic note, but still acts as camouflage. Most of the paintings that are in my moleskine right now have a lot of camouflage going on in them... and I'm not sure why. (A mystery for another day.)
 Then, I spent some time on the face, painting over the under painting with titan buff, mixing some with the brown for shadows. You can still see some of the pink under painting, but she no longer looks eerie.
 Then I added some more brown for emphasis. I'm not quite sure I don't prefer her without dark brown. I kind of like the baldness of the face without eyelashes and eyebrows, but I did it, so I went with it. Maybe I'll try another portrait sometime with a nice open face. But she does have brown/black hair, so it would make sense that her eyelashes and brows would be dark.
 But to tell the truth, I was feeling that she was a little fussy with all the tiny brushstrokes on her face, so I took a bigger brush and covered most of her face with more titan buff, leaving just the details on the features.  I love titan buff. I don't care if it's not really flesh colored. I also added in a tiny bit of white high lights. I wanted her to look a little moist, tears and tenderness and light.  I added some black to the hair, to give it a little depth, and added the black heart. The original sketch had the heart pendant and I wanted to keep it, but for some reason, I didn't want it to look like a pendant. I wanted it to look like writing. I suppose because of the writing that is camouflaged as rose bushes. These are details you would never know unless I told you. And look here, I just did.
The last step, I tried to make her hair look curlier, don't know why, just wanted to. And then I brought the curls out into the green, to integrate the two colors and make the girl more a part of the rose bush. I added brown curls all the way through the painting.

So there I've gone and demystified my painting process.

That's what happens when I have my camera sitting on my kitchen table on a sunny day, next to my painting

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