Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Ver. 2.0

Last year, I sold this piece.

A 12"x24" painting on paper, mounted on a wooden cradleboard, painted with acrylics. I loved it. So did my husband, who- while happy for me- was a little crushed that it would be leaving us. It was also a fan favorite, and inquired about frequently. I loved having it in my collection, but what's the point of making art if you're not going to let anyone else own it?

I had sold it to a local gentleman though my blog. He sent his wife to pay me and collect the work. On the day she arrived, I had my studio thrown wide open and my husband and I were both puttering around the space. The woman pulled up in front, got out of her truck, and stomped up to the studio, 5-year-old ankle biter in tow. She didn't look happy. In her hand was a wad of cash.

My husband and I, tireless curators and referees of my work, looked at each other, and yellow flags started flying onto the field between us: she looked like she was arriving at a garage sale.

I took her over to where the painting hung, and she frowned at it- not exactly the reaction an artist hopes to get, but it happens from time to time.

"It's so small," she said. Her frown deepened. Her brat, meanwhile, was all over the studio, touching everything and spreading his little boy germs everywhere.

"I didn't expect it to be so small!" She turned to me like I'd kicked her. I could see her thoughts as if they were flashing in neon, nailed to her forehead: 'Why does something so small cost so much??' This was not an art lover- this was a bargain hunter, proud of her ability to suss out a good deal from a bad one. This, in her mind, was clearly a bad deal.

"I told your husband the dimensions when I sold it to him." I refused to apologize for one of the coolest, and most popular, paintings I'd done all year.

She just kept frowning, looking at it. Frowning.

My husband and I exchanged glances again. Red flags now, all over the field.

Hoping she would take the chance to flee, I asked her if she'd like to think about it. Maybe talk to her husband again.

Snatching up her sprog's hand, she stomped back to her truck and got in. Minutes passed. More. More. My hopes began to rise that she would just start her vehicle and drive off in it. I was really beginning to regret selling my work to these people.

Maybe 15 minutes later, she got out of the truck, stomped back to me, shoved the money into my hand and grabbed the painting off the wall.

Desperate, I said to her retreating back, "If you ever decide you don't want it anymore, PLEASE don't throw it away, call me and I will buy it back from you!" And she was gone. I've never heard another word from either she or her husband but I suspect that one day soon, my painting will wind up in a garage sale. She'll feel fortunate to get 2.00 for it.

After that nasty episode, I decided I wanted to recreate the work- maybe not exactly, but certainly I hoped to make a piece of art that evoked the original. Only, I wanted this one to be bigger.

Enter this massive bad boy.

All 48"x60"x2.5" of it. I'd started it, worked on it, hated it, abandoned it. Every time I had to move it out of the way, I hated it a little more. Finally, I reached critical mass on the hatred, and back up onto the painting wall it went.

I lightly washed it with gesso, not wanting to totally obliterate what was underneath. (My color palette? Yes! My Stacked Journaling? Yes! What's not to like?) Then I began applying color.

(I love the way the text keeps insisting on peeking through.)

I began applying the bold strokes of color with a large paint brush and then refined the edges by dabbing paint onto damp baby wipes and buffing that into the canvas. That allowed me to get soft color transitions, as well as to mix the paint directly onto the canvas. I was both removing and adding paint at the same time. The whole piece got several layers of paint in this way, building up texture and interest.

Then, using a photo of the original work as a reference, I began creating bold line work.

I didn't want an exact replica of the smaller piece, but again, I wanted to evoke the same feeling. I'm not gonna lie to you- on this scale, it got a little tedious and my arms became achy and tired (the painting hung on the wall the entire time I was painting it.)

Finally, the black line work was complete.

I could have left it at that, and certainly my arms and shoulders voted for that, too, but I wasn't satisfied. I wanted to pop both the line work and the color palette with white accents.

If you're wondering if I flipped the painting upside down, you're perceptive- I did, several times. With a canvas this large, it tends to hang almost to the floor and physically becomes awkward to paint on. I often paint for a while, turn the canvas, paint for a while longer, and so on.

Finally, to give the canvas a little finesse, I added smaller line work in black.

("Ver. 2.0", acrylic paint on stretched canvas, 48"x60"x2.5")

Here are a couple of close-ups so you can see the detail.

I've had my nose pressed up against this painting for days and I still love it. It was a lot of fun seeing and highlighting the way the colors combined on the canvas- acrylic paint is always a surprise to me, no matter how many years I work with it.

This piece is for sale, and I'm willing to ship it within the US (I'm sorry, the shipping overseas would cost as much as the painting alone would!) Please contact me privately, if interested.

And no, I haven't forgotten or abandoned encaustics! Here is a piece I've recently completed. Encaustic paint on wooden cradled hardboard, 12"x24".

It's time to take the rest of the week and the weekend off! Until next time, create with large fun!

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