Oh my gosh…this painting was a struggle! This is one where I would like to see time lapsed photography of the process because it evolved so much over a two hour period. The concepts were flunkies (or some such thing) from night school, bikes and seven hearts. I decided to focus on a single theme, the seven hearts. The midnight riders of last week had frustrated me a tad, so I knew that I really didn’t want to tackle that one. Night was also a concept that I didn’t want to take on.
So…first of all I related with the number concept of ‘seven’. I think that I’ve always seen that as my ‘lucky number’. Hmmm…what is that? I’ve never won anything because of the number seven. It has not played any pertinent role in my life! Why would I even perceive it as ‘lucky’. Ooogie boogie…really!
Anyway, embedded in the piece is a portion of chapter seven from each book in the Old Testament…they read from Genesis, right to left…and then on into the Gospels…ending though, in Luke. This was a bit of a time USER, so, do I regret it? No.
Next, I applied a prism of tissue as my ground, from top of composition to bottom, beginning with violet. This was a decision that, in the end, haunted me because I struggled with colour scheme throughout the exercise. I had seven roses in my mind as an actual depiction, but when I used my red…it was just too warm when placed on top of its violet and cool blue surroundings. In retrospect, I would have sketched in my space for the roses and built the texture up to and around the foreground, developing the roses from the very beginnings.
This is where the push and pull began to occur. I placed the primary rose too low in the composition and too central. After applying generous paint, I then had to remove it and altar the placement. Colours began to muddy and I thought that I was in trouble.
I ended up pulling a wash of gold over most of the piece to create unity and then worked pthalo blue into the bottom third to push back the remaining tissue story (yellow,orange and red), leaving just enough of an underpinning to resonate with the red in the roses. I changed the placement of the primary rose left of center and built gestures of six others to pull the eye through the composition. Sigh…
It was during the final five minutes that I resolved the composition and that in itself, was a relief. I find it very interesting that a single decision in colour or the placement of an element may steer your piece into a direction that doesn’t work and then you have to pull the entire composition BACK or remove the element. It’s a push and pull thing throughout the experience. The entire process left me wasted. I’m smiling as I type this because the truth is, nothing can be more wonderful than being given a challenge and then seeing it right through to the end.
Thanks to Paul and Emma for purchasing the piece at auction. As the result of the challenges I faced, the piece ended up with a sense of multiple layers and a rich textured surface. Let us not even speak of the colour!
I can only hope that someone at the event caught some images of the process. I would really enjoy seeing how I progressed through the piece. It’s one thing to tell the story, but it would be quite another to see it. This is the benefit for the people who attend the Gorilla House! They are able to observe the process as nearly 30 people create amazing work.
My ideas usually come not at my desk writing but in the midst of living. Anais Nin