This painting was an ambitious project first started more than a year ago.
I came up with the idea for this painting after getting to know the model much better than I had known her before. I had known her casually for about a year until I learned of her past and where she was at in her life at the time. I do try to tailor the concept to the model rather than the other way around when possible. This is a darker more gothic theme than what I usually do, but I think it's good to vary themes every so often. I also find it more interesting when the actual narrative is a bit ambiguous and not completely spelled out for the viewer. I also do realize I have an affinity for surrounding a single female with various props.
"Indigo Heart" 57.5 in. x 25.5 in. oil on linen.
So why did this painting take so long? I tried to leave as little up to imagination when it came to putting together the reference. That meant actually having all of the props to paint from.
Butterflies: In order to convincingly execute the background of butterflies, I bought a package 100 rubber paint-em-yourself butterflies, spray paint, and irridescent acrylic. I hand-painted them to look like black swallowtails, then took some fishing string, tied them to each string and hung them from a frame I create with PVC piping.
Early Idea Sketch:
|Study of the Location|
Creating The Painting:
Here are some pictures I took along the way as I was painting this. Overall it took me more than a month. If you are interested in following my progress as I paint these, I recommend you follow me on Instagram.
I don't know how I feel about the painting yet. There were a lot of struggles in the execution of it. I tried to use a verdaccio technique that I don't use a whole lot, but I thought it would work for a painting I knew I was going to spend a long time on. The real tough part was reconciling the careful work done on the figure with the rest of the elements of the painting. I'm not nearly as experienced with trees and butterflies as I am with the figure. Rather than spend all my time trying to get the rest of it perfect, it's a better usage of my time to work on these things by studying on other paintings.
Looking at it one way, it's a little disheartening to be so dissatisfied with a painting I spent so much time on it so quickly. The more positive way to look at it is that I spent a month and a half giving myself a class on how to expand my range. The Painted Roses paintings are way easier to do than these, so I almost consider them an artistic fallback plan at this point. It's too early for me to get too comfortable. Expect me to continue pushing myself in different directions.
I also don't think my photo of this painting doesn't do it a great deal of justice. Therefore(plug alert), I highly encourage you to come view the painting in person. I will be showing this piece along with many others at the Epperson Gallery in Crockett, California. I am having a solo show from February the 16th to March 10th. Click on the picture to link to the gallery's website. More details to come soon!
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