The Process: Day 1


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:


  1. I like this idea of you posting progress each day MUCH better than going on hiatus. I love how you're thinking BIG and challenging yourself...that's a great quality of yours and so inspiring.

    I'll be back tomorrow. :-)

    Good luck! xoxox

  2. p.s. I'm starting a paper mache project tonight.

  3. Boxer: how funny! I saved a cheerios box so I could make some papier mache chickens along the lines of those animals on sticks we bought at the folk art show. I already bought the dowels. what are you making?

  4. You are so courageous! Look forward to witnessing your journey.

  5. Thanks for letting us be a 'fly on the wall' watching you create. It's so interesting for those of us who can only wish to be as talented as you are!

  6. Really?? how utterly coolio, Chick9!

    Flannery will be yore guide--doan ya jes' love them sixties style glasses??

    I luv the vision thang-Flannery in the water, wif crutches dropping away. An the peacock in her arms. Very visionary on several levels.

    We'uns will really be interested to see this paintin' develop. A tutorial of sorts--insight into the artist's mind.

    Flannery said, FIX THE TRUCK.

  7. Hooray! Not only are you not going on hiatus, we get to glimpse the Chickory process for a week! I am already fascinated and can't wait to follow how this painting develops!

    I also adore that "Rain Deer" piece - sounds like a very good trade indeed.

    All best to you on this project, and I sure hope it is not only accepted but ends up on that "on the 'big wall' with the good lighting"!

    P.S. To answer the question you left me, the photo up on my blog is of Turkish orange eggplants, also called Egyptian orange eggplants.

  8. dmacfarm: thrilled to see you here. the comment you made about me and the truck 'bout made me cry. thank you.

    deborah: well, i hope it is interesting. if i flunk out -even that will be a story. I feel good about it...but there are always weird awkward stages to every painting.

    aunty: do tell. visionary on may levels...flesh that out for us. it was a persistent vision...and i had to do it. Its a risk painting out of my comfort range for a show but i had a decent day today - i sold a painting and i think another one is going to sell soon too. that takes me about a third toward the truck rebuild.

  9. eggy: weird! I thought those were tomatoes. (im not a farmer yet!) dont worry - i will have the badge by wed. glad you'll be tuning in. you know, i knew a hiatus wasnt going to fly. as if!

  10. Thank you for including us in the process of your art project, I am looking forward to seeing your progress each day.
    Love the paw prints and your painting of the "Rain Deer".
    Happy painting sweet girl!

    xoxoxo ♡

  11. what a wonderful idea and I am thrilled to take the journey with you! =] The Rain deer painting is so lovely. You have such a great way with color! =] Love how you approach what you decide to paint based on the show!!! Very insightful!

    Hope you are having a great summer and Hiii to all my blogger friends out there! I havent been in the hood for ages. Not enough going on to write about and too much happening to spend the time I guess... this summer is all about the kids. Soon it will be my time! hehe xoxo Helene

  12. You traded a painting for some painting? Love that! Bartering is a very good , tax free, way to get things accomplished.Ummmm, did you offer to trade the mechanic a painting for an engine?

    Like the others, I love the color balance of the Rain Deer painting.

    You've given us all something to look forward to every day :-)

  13. Ooooo, goody. I love learning about an artist's process. And I like the challenge you've set for yourself.

    That rain deer is beautiful. I always find little surprises in your work, like in this case, how the birdie at left is having itself a shower.

  14. This could possibly make a good video too.

  15. Thanks for the peek into the creative process. Can't wait to see the Flannery O'Connor piece develop. I like her and Carson McCullers.

  16. dianne: thank you. wow that was a crazy story about your car. you got it back what kind of condition was it in - not good i am guessing. glad you are joining in. I know you like to do art too and think you will relate to the steps. though it is harder to explain than i thought.

    helene: so good to see you!! Have you been traveling a lot this summer. cause, if it is thursday then it must be prague. I have missed you. thanks for coming over. stay tuned!

    fishy: i just dont see the mechanics making that kind of trade. no way. I bribe them with food all the time though to move me ahead of the line and such. thats worked well. They are nice guys -but they work for money. period. Thanks about the rain deers color. its on the verge of too much. it really does remind me of Indian advertising art.

    moi: well, it will be fun to try and articulate what i think while i do things....i hope i can be clear because its a little vague how i do it. I think this will be a great exercise for me. I like the bird shower too!

    troll: not if i am in it. I dont have AC. I can tell you i look like a sweaty hag all day long.

    xl: she is the best. I stayed in Milledgeville for 3 months while doing an artist residency. it was really wonderful. I will write about that a bit as this series progresses. glad you are joining in!

  17. Your version is way better than the Rain Deer I once had commissioned by a Communist artist by name of Rudolph. His version was disappointing to say the least. I should have never listened to that dealer who claimed "Rudolph the Red KNOWS Rain Deer".

  18. First and foremost, I'm sorry about your truck. I know just how you feel, I am from Detroit and LOVE old cars/vintage cars and cars (that includes trucks!) with character. Hope you find something so you can get your work and flowers to the Farmer's Markets again.

    Secondly, I'm lovin' the fact that you are posting about your creative process too and thank you for sharing. I always learn something when I read posts like this because everyone works differently.

    I love the expression you've captured on Flannery's face and also the fact that doggy will forever be a contributor.

    The deer painting is exquisite and the colours amazing. Well done, girl! On to the next post...

  19. You are simply amazing and wonderful- and I'm 3 days late. Time for me to get caught up ♥ (Been writing up a storm!!!)


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