Monday, February 22, 2010

Painting- Artist Revealed

Artist Revealed, 18"x24", acrylic on canvas

I have just sent this piece out to San Francisco, California for the Shout! art show hosted by Swords To Ploughshares  showcasing the talents of artists who are also military veterans. The show will be on March 17th and 18th. More details here.

**all of the images in this post can be enlarged by clicking on them**

The title of this piece is Artist Revealed. It's a bit of a self portrait in the respect that there are details that reflect who I am and what I have done.  There is an Air Force Commendation medal in the still life, as well as a glass perfume bottle my mother gave me, a milk glass vase from my sister, a bouquet of Ranunculus, a book that features Van Gogh (and the origins of the painting's title), and apples. Some objects have shades of meaning, others just are what they are- an enjoyment, an appreciation.

I thought that the title of the book, The Artist Revealed, was entirely appropriate in multiple layers. I had mentioned earlier that this is a self portrait of sorts. Another layer of meaning has to do with people's multiple facets. If I had told you that I was an artist, not too many people would automatically relate that to a military veteran, and vice versa. The truth is that everyone of us is a faceted gem with multiple lives and experiences that go beyond a singular categorization.

I have taken pictures of my whole process, which I will share with you..
The painting is based on a photo that I took and used for reference. The first picture is a general roughing out of shapes, colors, and tonal values. The background is all red, because I don't like to start with plain white and I like to let some background color shine through the painting giving the work a little electricity. And, yes, the studio/office wall is actually a pumpkin color (I'm not afraid of colors in the house).

This next photo shows my original intentions of having a very organic background comprised of overlapping circles. A lot of the colors are being established here.

I'm trying at this point to show something luminous. The aforementioned circles are still trying to work their way in.

I gave up on the circles for the background. I felt the composition needed another angular element to balance out the book that the apples are resting on.

The Ranunculus petals start to take shape and light. I begin really trying to model the apples into recognizable apple form. The medal is blocked in with basic colors.

The details of the glass perfume bottle are worked. I love glass, and this bottle is rather fun to paint. The apples, flowers, vase, book, and medal get more detail.

The shadows of the apples on the book are made more definitive. The lonely apple on the right was giving me trouble in that it looked flat, not apple-like, so there was more work to be done on that. I also add more organically shaped shadows on the bottom of the canvas to reflect the Ranunculus shapes at the top of the canvas. The book's lettering is painted in, and after this shot was taken, I signed it.

The whole time I am working, I am also doing a couple of other things. I think about my current and future life. I reflect on experiences that have led me to this painting. I listen to music... Stevie Nicks, Sting, and Madeleine Peyroux for this piece.  When it is all done, I feel a bit of accomplishment akin to finishing a twenty page paper the night before it is due. Happy and relieved.

So, if you're near San Francisco on the 17th and 18th of March, you can go see this piece as well as other fantastic pieces by women veteran artists! I am not yet aware of who else will be showing work, but I'm sure there will be some beautiful and thoughtful art. Many thanks to the organization, Swords to Plowshares for hosting this event!

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