I made this painting over the course of one week (that is, in about 10 hours probably). It’s easy to just let the days slip past without painting, so I decided to be intentional about it and work during the baby’s nap time. Luckily my 6 and 7.9 year old are fairly independent and love biking around.
Now the funny part of this painting is that the panel is a found object – this is probably something I should not publicize since I’m going to be selling this, but I love telling these details – we were walking at Granville Island with my sister’s family when they visited from Michigan (yes, they drove all the way here to Vancouver!). By the time we got there, it was already 7 pm, so the market had just closed. We were just walking around looking into the windows of the art studios, when I noticed a “free scrap” bin. My son and nephew enjoyed picking through that, claiming a couple pieces of wood. I happened to find a couple of perfectly good pieces of doorskin, and this is one of them.
Now for a little creative process…
I decided to paint something – anything – without belabouring the subject. Sometimes the sculptural, playful act of applying gesso to the surface inspires a painting. I used a palette knife and some other tools I keep on hand to play with the wet paint, and as part of my signature style, included some espresso grinds to create texture. I decided to paint some peonies. I love these flowers, though they tend to harbour lots of ants, as someone pointed out to me. But in a painting, there doesn’t have to be ants! Just the delicate, soft, layer-upon-layer of fragrant petals.
The next day I started to add some colour. Did I mention I was sick with a terrible chest cold, and my baby was cutting his first two teeth? This took serious dedication, friends.
Here it was starting to come along. I really don’t like these early steps, before I see clearly where this is going to end up. I think it was a good experiment to give myself a time limit – one week – so that I couldn’t wallow too long here. This is about as far as I got during two subsequent days of “baby nap time” – between cooking and cleaning and diaper washing and baby feeding.
Here I was starting to have fun, adding in more texture and colours.
Wacky angle shot to show some of the texture. I love playing with unexpected colours. You can’t see some of them from a distance, but it creates visual interest up close, and a richness of detail that I love. I collaged some of my papers into the piece, as well as some dried plants that I keep around for this purpose. Usually all of my paintings have some sort of leaves worked in.This last shot is a detail of the finished painting. I hope I can paint something else soon! This was fun after all.
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