I’m a creative, experienced, multi-purpose artist
who can take projects start to finish in a variety of styles.

Good designs sell – mine sell out!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

"Golden"


I can finally show you what I've been working on since my painting has arrived at its new home.  It was a wrench to give it away when it's been so long since I've actually painted anything this ambitious, if ever, but the painting wouldn't exist if I hadn't intended to give it away in the first place.  Giving is golden sometimes.

I wanted to paint a brick wall using a yucky pink and cover the bricks with May flies.  "Fish flies" make my friend smile, and I just wanted to cheer him up during a difficult time.  After a couple hundred fish flies, I decided the whole thing was too buggy, even for a guy, and changed direction.  I bricked over bugs and added other things to make him happy.

I didn't have a plan or design from the beginning, which meant I had to think up more things to paint and find a way to make the design work.  That ended up being a whole lot of head scratching and memory searching and online research.

In between all the mind work of figuring out what to paint and how, I had a practical problem because I painted this on primed, unstretched canvas.  Since the original plan was a big bug joke, I wasn't fussed about technicalities or archival qualities.  I intended to roll it up and stick it in the mail.  The better the painting got, the more I worried about delivery, especially since it could sit in the hot sun in a hot state once delivered.

A framer told me it had to be put on stretcher bars.  I didn't have any extra canvas on the bottom, and only 5/16" on the left side, but I got it on the stretcher bars -- which made this 2' x 4' painting big and bulky and expensive to send.  I've been telling myself "never again!" but I liked painting on the unstretched canvas.  I'm almost absolutely sure that I will do it again, and soon.

I actually took some WIP shots along the way for once.  First, I painted mortar colors with the ultimate light source in mind.  I did this with a house brush and a lot of raw sienna.  Then I cut out a template for bricks out of corrugated cardboard.  I slopped and dabbed pukey pink in the template, then without the template slopped and dabbed other brick colors until the bricks looked like bricks.

Tips -- don't make bricks too nice or they don't look real enough.  The mortar is curved, so the bottom part is lighter than the top (which is shaded by the brick).  I did all the initial painting of the bricks with a house brush.

Then I painted a bunch of bugs.  Then I bricked over bugs.  Actual May flies aren't this white, but I took creative liberties.  The fish skeleton is an idea I borrowed from something I saw in a restaurant, the portrait is the Titian I saw in the Detroit art museum, Joan of Arc is from a church... in other words, most of the parts are things that already existed before I decided to copy them.  I just put them together in my own way to create a different meaning, and each part is kind of its own painting.  I figured I must be doing pretty well in realism because I kept trying to pick up papers that were painted on the canvas to get them out of my way.

I loved making this.  I want to make something else now.  I did an in-between thing of another fish skeleton, but I want to do something more.  Maybe something for my own wall :)

17 comments:

  1. This is absolutely stunning, Linda! It's an honor for me to say I know you, and even more to say we are friends!

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  2. Wow Linda this is fabulous. I can understand you trying to pick up papers that were painted and those strawberries are so realistic I can almost smell them . What a lucky friend x

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  3. A nice gesture, Linda. And what a frickin' piece of art! Well done!

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  4. Pretty dang impressive, Linda! I am continually amazed at the very broad range of your talent and ability to focus and get down to the step-by-step until the brilliant Ta-Da. I'll be looking forward to a further outpouring of masterpieces! Something with flowers, maybe? :-)

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  5. I always like painting flowers, but I'm not picking any flowers for this guy :) I liked buying food for reference, but then somebody, maybe me, kept eating it. I was going to put blueberries in this, but somehow the blueberries didn't last. Well, some of them made it into the smoothie. I'm unabashedly pleased with myself for making this. It's really good for my heart to get some positive reinforcement for it. Thanks!!

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  6. Good job! And the golden theme fits. Giving is golden. I went to an art fair on the Mississippi last weekend. I looked at a lot of mayflies. They out numbered the art big time.

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    1. Thanks Sharon! If only mayflies bought art. I hope you had a great time at the art fair

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  7. Wonderful! I love the composition and the lighting effects! Glad you had so much fun with it.

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    1. Thanks Abby! Now I need another good idea for a painting :)

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  8. Wow, what a lot of work!! What a nice present. So much going on in this painting, and so much personality, love it :)

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  9. Hi Linda,
    This is what it's all about- the joy of creating...So glad you were inclined to create this and share the process with all of us. How lucky your friend is to receive the work in its entirety and to have you as a friend!

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  10. Wow! I love looking at all the detail. It's wonderful Linda.

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  11. Thanks so much! I told my friend I needed copious amounts of positive reinforcement for making this and he's been very good about that :)

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  12. Lovely words, Linda. Lighting is soft and welcoming in this image. Your wondering aloud about an idea of what to paint next gave me an idea for a painting... a collections of items, like yours, but relating to my grandmother who died over a decade ago but is part of my every day. Thanks for the idea.

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