"Never cut a tree down in the wintertime. Never make a negative decision in the low time. Never make your most important decisions when you are in your worst moods. Wait. Be patient. The storm will pass. The spring will come."
I really like this quote by Robert H. Shuller the American Televangelist... you'll know him when you see him.
Anywhooo, after a chat with my very creative husband, I've made an important decision. I've decided to continue painting, but I will not be submitting this canvas to Nancy John's 40" x 40" Gallery show. I feel as if I'm starting to make creative decisions based on the submission deadline and I don't like how that feels. I am thinking too much about product and it's spoiling the play and discovery of process.
So I hope you will follow along and see where this painting takes me. Some very unusual ideas are coming to mind and I am JUST GOING TO GO with them and see where they take me!
Trees painted in my sketchbook.
Strips of paper I used to determine location and colours
would be assigned to each tree.
I tried a variety of things to outline the trees
including black oil pastel, pearl black chalk pastel and
black india ink. Not sure which one I've decided on.
Good day in the studio. Painted another layer of land and sky. Also transferred all of the imagery onto the canvas. Tried on Margaret's clothing, did a few more colour studies and began to paint the rooster. All is going very well.
The submission deadline for the painting is this coming weekend and I'm feeling very positive. Still considering names for the painting. If you have any ideas, I'd love to hear them!
Time to transfer all of the images onto the canvas.
First the trees...
Using the graphite method, the trees come
up on the canvas perfectly in position.
Margaret awaits her turn to be transferred
onto the canvas. She's hanging out by the bookshelf.
I love flat land. When I lived in Vancouver in the early 1980's I was surrounded by mountains, I felt like I was in a box. A box with very, high sides. A box where you couldn't see possibilities, the future, the way, or the horizon.
In 1988 I moved for a short time to the prairies of Canada. I loved the flat, expansive terrain. As they say in Saskatchewan, "You can stand on a chair and watch your dog leave home for 3 days." I want this painting to have the feeling of the big sky of the prairies. I wonder if I can make that happen?
Tonight I worked on the foreground, creating layers of glazes with a matt gel and a beautiful mustard paint. Also I did some more colour testing in my sketch book. When I pencil Margaret onto the canvas I will need to gesso her face in white over top of the blue sky. This will allow a neutral colour base for me to paint her features and skin tones. The white gesso test covered nicely in my sketch book.
With all of these books laying about, you might think I keep a messy studio. In actuality the studio is pretty neat and organized. The books are stacked as weights, pressing flat Margaret's clothing which I cut out earlier this evening. But you'll have to wait until tomorrow to see her pretty dress.
The last 4 days have been great. I've explored colour palettes, texture-techniques like layering and glazing. I've experimented with various paints, gels and other mediums too. I've enjoyed having the time to play, but it's back to the full time gig tomorrow. So today I had a few things I wanted to accomplish. The FIRST THING I needed to do -- was to put Margaret together.
In my original 11'' x 17'' drawing, Margaret was only drawn to the armpits... sans torso. For Margaret to work in the square composition I needed to add to her body and draw her down to her hips. So I went about scanning, enlarging and then printing her out using a large format printer. This way I could see how she would fit on the 40'' x 40'' Big Ass Blank Canvas.
Utilizing tracing paper, I traced the large print of Margaret. I added sheets of tracing paper, as I added to her body. Tracing paper is translucent allowing you to see through to what's underneath. It also allows you to draw various renditions of components before committing to a final drawing. For instance, if I wanted to try two different body styles on Margaret, I could draw them on two separate pieces of tracing paper. Then easily I could try each one to see which one worked best.
The SECOND THING I wanted to accomplish was to draw a chicken. What can I say, Margaret wants to have a chicken. On a separate piece of tracing paper I began to draw the chicken, until unceremoniously it turned into a rooster. So a rooster it will be.
There still a few more tweaks that I need to do. Once I am completely satisfied with the drawing, I'll use the graphite method to transfer Margaret to the canvas.
Margaret in her original proportions... drawn to the armpits.
I have added sheets of tracing paper as I begin to draw more of her.
The chicken who unceremoniously turned into a rooster.
I have since shortened his beak.
Margaret holding her rooster... finally.
Margaret's head is on a separate piece
of tracing paper.
Her upper torso, the rooster, her skirts, as well
as the right horizon line and the left horizon
line with trees (horizon lines not shown in this photo)
Had fun doing this quick little face. Not finished it yet (obviously she's bald and has one eye bigger than the other), but you get the idea. Some of these techniques I may apply to Margaret's face on the Big Ass Blank Canvas.
Have the colour pallet nailed down. Core colours on the left from top to bottom are: Cadmium Red Light, Raw Umber, Mustard, Turquoise now changed to Teal Cobalt, Light Green Permanent, and Green Oxide. On the right are those colours mixed with Titanium White.
Thrilled that I have 5 entire days to work on the Big Ass Blank Canvas. I don't get a lot of time in blocks to concentrate on painting or the important preparation process that goes with it. I love the creative process as much as I love painting.
I pulled out some texture experiments I did a while back. Checking out some of the techniques to see if they might be applied to this painting. Going to do try the techniques with my chosen colour palette and see how it looks.
Incidentally, in this project I was using the letter forms from the font Cartier. Graphic Design, just can't get away from it.
Today I Create gives me the opportunity to explore intuition and process without concern for end product. Using whatever colour and drawing tools I have at my disposal, I'll share my view of the world with you.
All images are the sole property of Jamie Lees Copyright 2012. All rights reserved. It is unlawful to use these images without expressed written consent. Use agreements can be obtained by contacting Jamie Lees at firstname.lastname@example.org