This post is about how I made this:
But first, some background …
The amount of painting with actual paint I do has decreased significantly since Kingsley was born. There are many reasons for this:
- When you have a newborn, you often start a painting and then have to go and get the baby who is hungry, needs to be changed, or needs a break from Mommy (winky face). The paint you mixed dries, and by the time you mix up the right concoction of paint, the cycle starts again.
- When you’re running around in the newborn daze, you make lots of mistakes, and you can’t press “undo.” Too much frustration + exhaustion leads to quitting. I’m not for quitting.
- Digital art opened my world to illustration possibilities. It allowed me to more slowly, carefully explore my skills and approaches, allowing me to draw, move things around, resize characters, try out different color palettes and applications, and press “undo” when I am exhausted and making mistake after mistake. (There aren’t really mistakes in art, but just go with this for now.)
- When there are no paint tubes around, your one year old can’t get into them when you turn around for 2 seconds to get something off the shelf.
But, every now and then, I MUST paint-paint! It is a different process and a different outlet for me. It is usually more therapeutic than it is about the product that comes out at the end.
When I was contacted by an elementary school friend to see if I could create something for her new yoga studio, I jumped at the chance. She sent me the quote she wanted to use, and I was given extreme creative freedom. This is when I do my best work: when I am not trying to live up to an expectation of a previous painting, and when I am just painting to paint and to enjoy myself.
I suggested that I’d do something abstracted, with blues, greens and whites.
The thing about abstract art is that many people think it is entirely random. But it’s design. It’s an innate understanding of how colours work together; how movement is made through form, line, colour and strokes. It is planned, even if it is unpredictable.
I started the painting out as I do all of my paintings with an undercoat. Usually, I use black, but this one needed a special approach. I mixed up some greens and blues and yellows. Then I pressed some legos into it to create some texture to work with later.
Remember – this was an investment! It’s uglier than Granny’s old floral undies, but it’s about creating the base that can be built upon.
I painted using a palette knife, and stuck to 3 main colours: white, blue, and yellow. I ended up working in some green and a bit of turquoise, but only the slightest bit.
Once I worked on the main colours and had worked through the directionality of the colours, I had to go in and touch up the movement of the blue. It seemed to be somewhat mis-curved. It wasn’t flowing in the way I needed it to, so I spent another hour reworking that.
You can see here in the second photo how I reworked that curve. I also added more of the dark blue to build out the depth of blues. There is nothing quite as powerful as monochromatic painting!
I also played with the yellow of the sun, working the white in so that it didn’t seem to be fully blended. I wanted it to look rough, vibrant and alive – much like life.
Then, I added the quote. I did this first on white paper, which I cut to size and scribbled the words down on for two reasons:
- To make sure that it would fit, and to see how it would fit, and;
- To test out my printing skills. I hadn’t done any printing so large in a while:
Truth be told, I actually misprinted the quote on my first try. Meghan, the owner of Shine Yoga Studio in Cornwall caught the error when I sent her a photo for proofing, and I was able to go in and fix up the last few words. Sometimes, your eyes read something, and somehow your brain sees something else!
I finished up the edges of the painting with similar tones, and delivered it to its new home. I am so happy that I was able to add to the zen, peaceful space that Meghan has created in her yoga studio.
(Note: I do take commissions! Contact me for info on this. I’ll ask you acrylic or digital? and we can talk a bit of design, but know that if you send me a picture from another artist and say, “I want something like this!” I will probably be unable to make it. Art is an expression of the spirit and soul, and as such, my art is guaranteed to be something I love and feel, but likely won’t match the artist’s work that you found online. The reason that this piece worked out? Meghan sent me the quote and said, “Go crazy!” That’s the best.)