In this short series I would like to share my process about creating my paintings. I hope to demystify the process of creating the piece of art and show that for me, it really doesn’t “come together” until the very end. And again for me in my process, the trust to stick to it and just take each step one at a time, is what I love about it because it really is a “process.”
For “Untitled Rose,” this series is a bit unique because the works on raw linen are a continuation of my other linen series from 2015-2016 (click here).
Most often I like to work on a lot of paintings at the same time and start to “bring them all up” at similar times. This way it is very easy for me to experiment and try different motifs or themes or mark-making or color schemes, and if I like them and just want to keep going in that direction, I feel a lot of freedom to transfer those same elements to each piece as I move through all of them. Then a certain number of them will be worked on together and then they will eventually be finished.
Then others of that series will have to “sit and wait their turn” so-to-speak.
In this situation, life happened. All last year (2017-2018) I was pregnant and then paused to have and take care of our second son. Then, as many women can relate, once my body had physically, emotionally and energetically finished creating a human being, I had a BURST of creative energy left to direct toward painting. Again, the overarching theme of all my work is, I just have to trust the entire process.
So with this series, these unfinished raw linen pieces were supposed to be worked on and finished to include in 2016. But they sat there with only a few layers on them.
I tried to look back into my photo archives to show what they looked like (pretty bare) before the stencils were layered (above photo). But I couldn’t find them.
The above photo shows the floral stencils in ivory chalk paint that I got excited about in this entire new series. This is my first piece that I took those stencils and had fun with. As you can see my latest series expands on that motif over and over again.
Then I needed to create some more depth, so the added “maroon” blobs, and even pushed further to add the dark gray areas. Then it needed a bit of an “accent” so I added the periwinkle areas.
Part of the painting needed to get covered up so that the rest of the painting could shine and come forward and be “special.” This process is forever a delicate balance of what to keep and what to let go. In every single painting. It’s the same process. And it all comes down to decisions, decisions, decisions. And not being afraid to loose certain parts of the painting you might really like, because what you gain could be better then you could’ve imagined.
Sounds a bit like life yes? Yes. As I write this, I'm reminded that perhaps this is WHY I want to write out my process and share. Simply because the intuitive wisdom that I’ve learned to practice in my paintings, is exactly what I need to hear and read and internalize for my life.
For many of my paintings, there’s no “right” way to orient them. Some are better then others. And during the painting process I will rotate the paintings around - looking at them on the floor, on the wall and finally even using photos on my iphone (which helps tremendously for my process). This painting stayed with the darker side anchored on the lower right. It just kept coming back to that so I finally gave in.
And for the final layering, the darker blobs were getting pretty stark. I was not sure what to add. I had experimented with the stencils, washing the light pink over parts of them or like the bottom right, washes of light green/blue to add variety and not just make them “stencils” on the surface. These layers needed to weave “in and out” of each other over and over. Like a mess of real branches or floral attributes.
Finally I had the impulse to flick watered chalk paint spontaneously in a spray of droplets. And that half second decision finalized the piece.