Okay I said I was going to take a hiatus, but instead, I am going to post at the end of everyday this week to show the process of making a painting. I have been thinking about Flannery O'Connor a lot lately and had a vision of her standing in water. Then I went to Aunty's blog and she had a post about Flannery and I took that as a sign to go ahead and paint the vision.
I am doing this painting for an upcoming national juried show; the deadline to submit a CD with photos of the painting is this Sunday. That's the deadline to just get in the show. The actual show is in October. Im motivated by prize money and achievement. Painting a person is kind of out of my realm, but I plan to maintain my surrealist approach to the challenge. Today I picked up the wood substrate from my friend J.T. and gessoed it. It is 40x40 which is pretty big for me. My strategy is that by having a work that is close to the size limit, I can get on the 'big wall' with the good lighting. I printed out some source material and did the drawing. I have had the vision of how it would be for a long time, so when it came time to draw it flowed pretty well.
Koby, of course, stepped in the wet gesso and I plan to do nothing about it. This footprint is in the part of the painting that will be water. The composition is Flannery at Andalusia standing in the pond holding one of her beloved peacocks, whose tail flows into the water with the design of the feathers becoming very large in the foreground. Above her, the eye of God breaks through a cloud and rains down grace in golden drops. It is a kind of baptism. Ive tried to work in having her leg braces (a result of having Lupus, which is what killed her) falling away or maybe being at the bottom of the pond - because they are not needed anymore.
Right now, I am waiting for the first layer of the background to dry. Its a very rich layered golden yellow with the edges going deeper with an overlay of transparent red. There will be a lot of blues in this painting so this golden background will be critical to warming the final art. I leave my drawing kind of dark so I can see what I am doing and paint a little over the lines to make sure I have good paint coverage where colors meet. I can always make corrections later but I tend to have a fairly tight drawing before I pick up a paintbrush. At the end, the textural stuff and last minute flourishes that make the surface sing are added as needed. But that would be on day 5 or six.
I hope you will join me this week to see how this painting develops. Suspense! Will I make deadline? Stay tuned.
Tomorrow I will probably work on Flannery's face a little bit because if I can't get that right, or to a point where I know it will be right, all the other labor will be wasted time.
* Yesterday, J.T., my friend who prepped the wood for this Flannery project, brought his wife over to get the painting he traded me in exchange for painting the outside of my studio. I think she was really excited to get it, and know that he feels it was a good trade. It is a 24 x 24" painting of a "Rain Deer". It looks Indian (as in Hindu) to me. I just finished it on Saturday - a good warm up for this week's work although what I am planning is more restrained and controlled than this piece: