A lot of things happen that go into making a painting. It makes it hard to tell a chronological story of the thinking/planning/creating process. At times I might not realize that something is influencing me and only later do I discover the impact. Because of that, this is probably not my most coherent post but I want to record some of the things I'm thinking and doing lately and how it's influencing my work.
Last month for the year of creative habits book club we read The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp. I found certain chapters of the book particularly interesting and I knew that the book would have some effect on my painting process. Of particular interest to me were scratching, spine, focal length, and the box. I wrote about some of that here. I feel like most of those ideas are for larger paintings/bigger projects but certainly they are in the back of my mind.
Another part of the book did significantly impact this particular painting. Tharp suggests going without something to boost creativity. For various reason, not just creativity, lately I've chosen to go without politics. I stopped clicking and reading posts about politics. I try to not even read the headline. I found that while avoiding the headline, I notice the art more. Now I've become quite fascinated with political illustrations. I was certainly thinking about those as I worked on this piece. How can I illustrate this person? What about their life can I include in the painting?
This is my 30th Monday Mourning painting. I feel like for at least the last 20 paintings my process has been pretty much the same. It was time to try something different. This month my mini course over at ayearofcreativehabits.com is iPhone collage. In the course, I suggest using these collages as the basis for a painting. It's not something I'd done before I thought I'd give it a try. Soon after I ran across this article how integrating physical art into digital creations expands creativity.
The process for this piece began with a digital collage using a photo of my subject. I knew I wanted to work with three fractures as her personality split in threes. So first I set that up in the collage.
Then I used the collage as my sketch for the painting. I wanted to try combining spray paint/stencils with my usual gouache paints. I started with the larger shapes of color in gouache. Then I laid in pink and black spray paint using handcut stencils. I went back and forth layering gouache and spray paint.
The white paint splatter on the blue to the left was a very happy accident. I would have preferred her blouse to be a little less busy. I'm mostly happy with the outcomes on this one. Of course like with any painting, I can point out parts of it I don't like, things I wish were different. Overall though, I'm pleased. I will try this process again. The next time around I'd like it to be a little less busy, more design based, and little less mark making/expressive. However I feel in this piece, those things work. They fit the subject and the story.
It'll be interesting to see if this piece is a turning point and leads to a new direction or if it's just an experiment. Only time (and a lot more work) will tell.