Monday, October 3, 2011

Dooce's Favorites. Painting number one

There are two different attitudes that usually manifest themselves as I begin a new painting or series of paintings.  'Total Excitement' or 'Confidence Crushing Fear'.  This painting brought out a little bit of both!  As the first painting  in the series of Dooce's Favorites from her travels to Bangladesh with the charity Every Mother Counts, I knew that this painting was going to set the tone for the whole group.

I loved this photo as soon as I saw it - the expressions on the children's faces, the pattern of their clothing, the gestures of their hands.  I started with a loose sketch in oil on a panel, 24" x 36".

From the beginning i knew I wanted the focus to be on the tallest girl of the three.  I wanted a lot of layers, transparent under opaque, dark under light, lots of focus on pattern and texture.

This layer is a little spooky...transparent glazes and a bit of color on top.

I think this is when I realize I made the arm of the tallest girl too short.  I was really upset, because I loved the color and the shape, but it was in the wrong place!  But painting in oil is very forgiving, because every layer adds texture and interest, so I painted it over...

Experimenting with background color...would a cool blue work? Does it need more detail?

Warmer background, but now there was SO much going on in the painting, I was losing the focus on the face of the tallest girl - should I block out the other two faces to balance it out?

Sticking with the plan to fill in the background, I inserted a little girl from a different photo, thinking she would address the negative space along the left.  It didn't work...everything was feeling too pieced together and not cohesive.

After talking it thru with a couple of my fellow artists, I added the faces back onto the two other girls.  Now, they felt like they belonged together.

I toned down the blues, going back to my initial plan of utilizing an earthy palette.  I still wasn't sure about the girl on the left, and...painted her over...

...and now it's done!  

These three girls have unique personalities, and the whole time I painted I was thinking about their Potential, how their future might somehow be written on their face.  How would the little girl on the right be served by her defiance and self confidence?  How would the young lady in the middle turn her level-headed temper and ability to empathise with those around  her into her biggest asset?  How would the pretty one on the left force you to see past her beauty, and realize that she has ideas to change the world?  

This painting will be auctioned on-line starting October 10th with net proceeds benefiting Team Every Mother Counts , participating in the New York City Marathon on November 6th.


Anonymous said...

Beautiful work! I loved seeing the transition of the piece and your thought process as the painting developed.

Anonymous said...

I love reading about your process and the thought that goes into a piece of your work. I especially loved reading the bit at the end where you mused about each girl's potential. Thanks for sharing!