Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Tree of Life - how a painting is born : bringing the painting to life

well, I must confess I am not being able to match the rhythm of the making of Tree of Life with my blogging. the painting is somewhat advanced now and on the blog it barely received the underpainting! so now let's try to catch up.

after the first underpainting I realize that the tree has no masculine elements, which is a very necessary thing to create life. first I think about drawing penises confounding with the branches, but I find that horns would be more symbolic and elegant. after all, they evoke the Horned God, which is very appropriate!

after spreading some long, curved horns around the branches, it's time to start filling them (branches) with pigment. I then start an underpainting with Payne's Grey.

underpainting done, it's time to have fun filling up the areas I had defined for my abstracts. however, most of the pencil is gone under the grey watercolor, and I create the abstracts intuitively with a second layer of Payne's Grey and drops of violet, yellow and pink in a wet on wet approach.

a very bad thing I use to do that I don't recommend anyone, at least you are very secure about what you are doing: experiments on your definitive support. here I use a small area of the background to test colors and shapes that will be used throughout the painting. I kind of like the general feel of it, although some shapes don't feel right, but that's easy to fix. I'm keeping true to my pallette of choice in order to keep things balanced. for the background I'm using Dioxazine Violet, Cadmium Orange Hue and a green I obtained mixing Viridian, Emerald Green and Alizarim Crimsom.

I apply a second wash of underpainting onto the background, using violet for the upper part, a mixture of blues for the middle and Cadmium yellow for the lower part. then I start doing the shadows in the branches, with different amounts of pigment and water - more pigment to the darker areas. I also enrich the abstracts this way.

and more inapropriate experimentation, this time in the middle part of the painting. I create quite a chaos buiding leaves, spirals and abstract leaves in the shape of triangles, and also enhancing the star points with outer shadows to enhance and "separate" them from the background. I don't like the result. some areas are too muddy and I hate the shape of the leaves, although the little triangle-leaves work well and do a nice contrast with the round shapes of the spirals. by the way, I must confess that I never got to make good leaves, or at least some I really find worthy. I definitely have to do some studies on leaves and find out a style I like.

I repeat the shapes I think that work on the other side (left). better to do some cleaning on the right side. at this point, here's how it looks like:

and after a little more layers of grey for shadow enhancement, the painting is finally coming to life. just recently I started to use Payne's Grey for the shades, and it works much better than black, for it's way more vivid and warm.

1 comment:

Suzi Smith said...

I know things have changed with this... but it is quite fascinating reading back through in one go, rather than receiving updates as they happen. It's lovely to see your process & share your anxieties! you are very talented and intuitive in your work, thank you for sharing


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