My process of doing this painting was different than usual. I will outline it below:
– First, I became totally disgusted with a painting I was working on for an upcoming show. Instead of starting over, I kept piling and piling paint on it. Finally, I voiced the words, “I hate my painting!”, and my wise Mom, the great artist Dot Courson (whom I was painting with at the time), said, “O.K., lets just put this one aside” (meaning throw it in the dumpster disguised by the love of a Mom.)
-I went home knowing I needed to get alone and be able to hear that still, small voice that helps not only in our big problems, but also aids us in the gift He has given to us as well.
-I looked at the picture of my daughter that I had and I chose her as the subject, but did not know how I wanted the entire piece to be.
-I began drawing small sketches of possibilities, working with placement of her, a fence and a horse, as well as different size scale drawings based on canvas sizes.
After playing around with different possibilities, I did not have the picture that I felt I could have in front of me. So, I looked through different artists’ books for the mood I wanted to see in my picture. I found it in Dan Gerhartz “Together.” The close up view of the girl in the hat was the inspiration I needed.
I redrew my picture on paper, now focusing on the values. I chose values that would heighten the quality of the final picture. When I had it, I knew it, and felt a compulsion to go paint this picture exactly how I knew it needed to be.
This process took thinking on it and sketching pictures about 5 days. I had redrawn the girl now about 15 times, and new I could paint her without overworking her.
So, Thursday at 6 P.M. I began to paint. I got out bright colors and almost told the black and umbers out loud to stand back. I premixed many different colors, and only then added white to a few piles. I was ready.
I turned on my daughter’s favorite music artist, “Zoegirl”, to the song “Beautiful” that says “Your heart I seek to find with your hands you fashioned mine, Let me be used by you to carry out the truth to the ends of the earth..for the sake of your beautiful name, your beautiful name..” I hit repeat on the ipod and painted my daughter not only with paint, but with faith in God’s plans for her.
I began my painting on her face, then to her hat, and worked my way down her arm and body until I had her there. Then I added the horse where I felt she was looking, then “connected the darks” with the background trees, and added the foreground and a little sky color, being sure to keep to the values I had chosen before painting.
I finished at 12:45 A.M., and snuck into bed, knowing I was happy with the outcome.
5 days of planning, 6 hours of painting. Done.
So much better than the other one, 6 minutes of planning, 5 days of painting, and painting, …..
John Pototshnick once said that planning a painting is like the blueprint stage of your house. I would rather erase in this stage, than have to “tear down walls” painting on a whim like I first did. I think I will draw more, now, before I paint, so that commitments are not so strong. Sometimes drastic changes are needed. (Evident from my drawing to my final painting.) If this was in oil color instead of pencil and paper, I may not be so willing to change.
I learned a lot doing this, but my favorite part of this painting is that it is for my daughter. I hope she enjoys it, and knows I believe in her.