How does is start? The painting I mean. How does it begin and when is it finished? Realistically the desired outcome is to depict a scene, set a mood and make figures recognizable. Finished in this aspect is subject to style in all its forms. Determining an abstracted piece as finished is subjective to the artists’ concept, often with little regard for the viewer. My quest as a visual artist is to depict my life, my emotions, my experiences through my images. This apple is an iconic image that has been in my consciousness probably since I was born as the wallpaper it came from was in our family summer home built before I was born. I remember it vividly as a child and then as a young adult. When I was about 25 and had moved here full time, I painted over all the wallpaper for a fresh new start. It was good at the time. I regret not peeling some of it off now, but regrets are futile. So when I found partial rolls of it in the attic in the 1980’s I began to work. Results are below:
- Red Blue Vase with Poppies
These collages became a part of the WallpaperWeekly series I began in 2010. This big blue vase found its way into a cousin’s home when too many things were closing in on us, but was a part of our summer memories.
So back to the original apple. The favorite of all the fruits repeated on the grey green ground, surrounded by the dark green crossed lines which give way to the background white crossed lines. What we saw as Nana cooked amazing meals, what we saw as we ate our wonderful family dinners, breakfasts, and lunches, usually all together.
It was the crosshatching, the dark green shadowed by the white, and of course the deceivingly simple play of greens, white and black that made up the apple itself.
These hashmarks became the cornerstone of the mural Joseph and I designed as we brought the studio back from its flooded destruction in 2013.
From paint sketches:
To additional detail:
To finished product:
The apple takes on a life of its own in colors and patterns far removed from the original, yet still recognizable as the wallpaper image.
The desire to abstract comes when I see detail worth seeing more of; detail that is intriguing on its own. So what happens next is zeroing in on the minutia of the composition and adding. And adding, and adding…..I hung this 5′ x 5′ canvas next to my bed for weeks along with my materials, paint, paint sticks, paint pens, and all the necessary implements to get these materials on the canvas, with the idea that as I stared at it on waking and as I drifted off to sleep, the whole picture would come to me. The convenience of being able to reach out and add a dot or a line here or there, or to just wake in the middle of the night and add to it was fantastic.
It was great working like this, as I was in the presence of the painting more often even than if I’d spent every day from dusk to dawn in the studio. I’m employing this technique with the series I’m currently working on as well to great satisfaction.
Next post will show you the finished painting. Thanks for reading.
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