Thursday, January 10, 2008

Some Like It Hot

Another year, another month, another painting challenge by WackieM.

And this time, we're not just talkin' 3 random colors. WackieM has raised the bar, and we've got to a higher level of complexity.

The lottery now includes 3 categories:

- Mother color (namely, one color that's used to harmonize the whole painting, either by mixing some of it into all the other colors, or by having it as an underpainting or as a glaze).

- Design Element that will be dominant in the painting.

- And - a Basic Compositional Design.

Challenging? You bet.

Took me more than a week to gather the guts to go for it. Partly because we are to work with one image, and stick with it throughout the month, changing and altering it based on what the dice have in stock.

"Wait, but didn't you take that crazy class, where you painted 20 full-sheet versions of the same thing??".

I did.

"And didn't you do this class twice?"

I did.

"So what's the big deal?"

Ah - commitment. Committing to one image, knowing from experience that I'll get tired of it after a couple of versions - that is the big deal!

See, playing with arbitrary colors is easy; emphasizing one design element is also fun; but, when we come to composition - that's when I become the absolute master of finding excuses why I can't do it, too busy (hey, our Annual Party is in Saturday - lots and lots to do!), too cold (our furnace died for 3 days, and I was miserably frozen blue), too hard to find an image, too chicken!

It wasn't easy to choose an image. I didn't want to go for a portrait yet again. While many artists are intimidated by portraits, that has become my comfort zone. Unfortunately, heads and faces are attached to bodies, so I know need to kick myself out of that zone before I totally forget how to draw/paint the rest of the figure.

I had several image candidates, which was another wonderful excuse for procrastinating - until I recalled an image I took 3-4 years ago at the Renaissance Faire. It was the first time we met these two comedians, Moonie and Broon, and totally fell for them. They were hysterically hilarious, totally silly and extremely skillful at what they do. I took a lot of photos that day, one of them shows Broon doing his fire-swallowing act. I've always wanted to paint this image, but kept postponing it, as the head is extremely challenging on it. It's tilted backwards, tongue stuck out - it looks wrong even in the photo!

And yet, as I said - sometimes, you've gotta get out of your comfort zone, and dive into the water, head-first.

I threw the dice to pick up my 3 categories, and the results were mean. Yellow-Green as the mother color (ewwwww!), Direction as the dominant design element (hmm), and an asymmetrical composition. Well... that didn't make me happy at all.

But I sat myself at the table at 9:30pm last night, and started to lay yellow green and other colors on a piece of Tyvek. Now... that was not my sharpest move, as Tyvek really calls for texture, and - for those of you who are still following, this painting is supposed to be dominated by direction - and too much texture will compete with it! So, in my eternal wisdom, I managed to even up the challenge for myself.

But, I already started, and I'd be damned if I gave up.

I thought I'd just put one layer, let it dry and continue the day after . . .

. . . at 1:30am, I found myself gazing at what I think is the finished painting. At least for now.

So, here it is. Sure is harmonized by the yellow-green, has a clear direction (what do ya mean what direction?? diagonal! work with me...), and is asymmetrical.

First challenge combination is met.



JohnnyB said...

I don't say this often enough, and frequently praise isn't the first thing out of my mouth, but I *really* like this painting. Ok - I like green, and love Moonie and Broon, but I think you did a good job capturing a moment, and not painting a photo.

Myrna Wacknov said...

Very Zen. A week or more thinking about a subject and then a few hours painting it! You really pulled off the green color beautifully. Intriguing image. Great job!

Lorraine said...

Impressive. This is, of course, coming from an "art clueless" person, but I see the direction and movement and I love the colors. It leaps. Keep in mind, I loved the snowmen...... but still, I am amazed by your talent. I wish you still did charcoal blankets though....

Nava said...

Thank y'all!!!

The JohnnyB, I figured the green has something to do with this ultra-positive critique, but what you say about capturing a moment - - - very cool!!!

Myrna, Hmm... my procrastination has never had the honor of being referred to as Zen. I'll take that with open arms! :-)

Lorraine, seeing the direction and movement takes away your "art clueless" title. But then you go and blow it with the charcoal blankets...

RHCarpenter said...

Amazing! You thought and thought and got some odd picks in the lottery and still came up with a great painting!! Next time I'm going to think more and paint less - it just might work :)

Tracy Wandling said...

I so enjoy reading your posts! I always laugh, 'cause the same conversations often go on in my head. And I really like this painting, too. And I like the way Johnnyb described it...capturing a moment...yup...that about sums it up. Great stuff!