Monday, April 6, 2009

An Artist a Day Keeps the Megrims Away

The very beginning--underpainting the face in blue

Friday I was the artist for An Artist a Day at Muse Art and Design. I arrived at noon ready to paint for the next six hours. No interruptions, yay! I had decided to do my work in acrylic due to the fast drying time. Once I got to Muse, I feel under the spell of the lovely large tubes of oil paint provided and went with oil.

Yep, I'm painting in the window

I started working from a favorite photograph of my great-grandmother, when she was young. I can't just copy something, though. Whatever I paint, it ends up being such a process.

What it looked like when I broke for lunch--kinda scary

My hands at the end of the day--well, I can't just use a brush...

Here's the painting at the end of Friday's session.

One should never have to make decisions about a new work without at least an hour of staring at it. But, it was time to go, so I decided to take the painting home and put finishing touches on it.

As so often happens with me, finishing touches turn into A Lot of Reworking. Then as the painting glistens with layers of oily wet paint, I feel I've gone too far. But, I have to get it back to Muse! I get frustrated and "thwock" the painting.

The term thwock comes from a successful intervention on a painting about ten years ago. I was frustrated then, too, and thwocked the wet painting with a towel. The painting then looked perfect--who knew?

So, this time the thwocking consisted of removing a bunch of layers of the wet paint. That gave me an image I really liked, which needed only a little touch-up. It didn't look anything like my great-grandmother, but hey, I liked it and it was done.

I also like the painting as it was at the end of the day on Friday. If I get to do this Artist a Day gig again, I'll leave the finished project at Muse for a few days before I get any ideas about finishing touches! Despite all this process, I had a lot of fun painting at Muse and hope I get to do it again. And I still have a date with great-grandma Mary Belle to capture her image in paint.

Painting post-thwocking

Up on the wall at Muse with others--lots of different styles to choose from

A new artist will paint each day at Muse, so go on by. Check out the Artist a Day blog with pictures and descriptions of each day's creation! Be sure to come to the silent auction, where you can pick up an original artwork at an extremely good price. All profits go to provide art supplies for children in the Portland public schools. Let's keep those young ones making art!

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