Idea to Image: Here & There

 My latest and largest painting, 
Here & There is 30 x 40", acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas.  I worked on it for a really long time...I began painting the background after I returned from my residency last summer.  In fact, I used it as an example in my painting class to demonstrate different blending techniques. After layering the background with several coats of paint and stenciling a faint purple polka dot pattern, I drew the fence and then added the origami.  The plants and birds were drawn on tracing paper and transferred using the carbon paper shown in the detail below (right).

I painted more slowly than usual and colors shifted quite a bit.  In the image below, you can see my palette (Sta-Wet by Masterson), which I love because it keeps the paint fresh for about two weeks. The pure colors were mixed on the canvas, rather than on the palette.

The origami was drawn from the curtain in my studio.  There are nine strands with ten cranes each; Steven and I were married in front of it a few years ago in the city.  The origami, a recurring symbol in my art, has come to represent memory, home and love.

The plant life was blocked in before adding the rest of the grackles.  I drew five birds in my sketchbook, transferred them to tracing paper and then moved them around the composition to create balance and establish implied line.  Even though the entirety of the canvas is covered in pattern, I felt the top right corner had too much negative space, so I added a bird in flight to activate the space and add movement to the static image.  I've been teaching art appreciation for seven years now; the elements of art and principles of design are constantly on my mind as I work to express my ideas.

This is the second painting to contain a large 'family' of birds.  I come from a family of five, as does my husband.  My mom is also from a family of five and her mom was one of five siblings.  It bears noting that Steven and I have a zoo of five in our house; three cats and two dogs. Five has proven to be meaningful and numbers have long been a significant part of my content. My thesis work dealt with specific numbers, derived by measuring spans of time and representing them through stamping, typing or a encasing hundreds of pins in shadowboxes. Over time, the numbers I have dealt with have simply grown smaller.  Trained as a printmaker, I have a natural tendency toward repetition.  If I'm not editioning, I find another way to do the same thing over and over, hence the recurring imagery and patterned backgrounds.

 I hope you enjoyed viewing the development of my painting! 
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