Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Formation of Belief: The Beginning

Original concept sketch for Formation of Belief
As an artist in residence at The Banana Factory, (a community arts and education center in Bethlehem, PA) we are invited to participate in a yearly exhibition for current resident artists only. This year's show came with a theme of "Perspectives" which to an artist, could mean just about anything.

I first played around with the idea of submitting a large photograph of a mandala found in nature, then of an altered photograph. I ultimately decided to paint a large mandala and pulled out my roll of canvas (63" in height) and decided to cut it 63x63". So I laid it out, precisely measured it THREE times and cut it at 53".

I seriously couldn't understand why it wasn't square...
Deciding not to fret over my faux pas, (because I believe that everything happens for a reason) I gesso the canvas black and staple it to the wall of my (old) studio.

With this new rectangle to work with, I start to wonder if I can somehow combine one of my women figures with a mandala.
Formation of Belief: Work in Progress
It's probably a good time to tell you that I almost never conceptualize a piece prior to working on it. My style is to start, see where it goes and then figure out the story.

I remember grabbing a small brush, blue paint, and an 8x10" mat board that I had previously covered with black gesso. I quickly sketched out a simple design and then once dry, made several black and white photocopies so I could play around with the idea. (See top photo) Since the blue paint showed as white on the copy, I used blue paint over the copy which ultimately gave me the inspiration to work with black, white and blue in the final piece.
Formation of Belief: Work in Progress
I begin by sketching the design with a white charcoal pencil onto the canvas.

Contemplating the Perspectives theme at this time, my thoughts are metaphorical in nature: perspective = core beliefs and I initially consider filling the background of this piece with my own positive beliefs about the world. (More on this later.)
Formation of Belief: Work in Progress
I paint in the white and immediately feel as though I've applied the white heavier than I'd wanted.
Formation of Belief: Work in Progress
Blue over top of the white does not give the same feel as the original concept sketch and her body proportions feel very off.
Formation of Belief: Work in Progress
I move her into my new studio and work to modify her body.
Formation of Belief: Work in Progress
I end up completely painting out the body and drawing it in again. (It is not a comfortable feeling for me to have to "re-do" something in a painting. My process is typically to move forward with whatever happens but when you introduce a concern for quality, you learn to make adjustments.)
Formation of Belief: Work in Progress
Body comes back in white.
Formation of Belief: Work in Progress
Then blue. (I'm liking her much better now)
Formation of Belief: Work in Progress
I continue to re-shape her.

The story continues tomorrow...... stay tuned!

Read Part 1: Formation of Belief: The Beginning
Read Part 2: Formation of Belief: Visualization and Acceptance
Read Part 3: Formation of Belief: Completion Through Release

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