After our summer show at the Brush Gallery in June a few of us had a critique to help push us in the right direction for the Whistler Museum show which will be up from September 26th-November 3rd. This is a huge deal for us, because we really need the marketing help in our community and also I have never shown work in a museum before! Been feeling the pressure this summer more than ever. Many important people from the community will see this up so I want to represent myself the best I can.
So my critique went pretty well but I was asked to push the idea of an alternate reality even more, and to continue pushing my use of textures. I totally agreed with this sentiment, and went to work sketching furiously for a few weeks, just to get my thoughts in order. Keep in mind this was right before 4th of July week, and the work had to be done by September 15th. I planned on using a few pieces from the summer show, but I wanted to create a few larger pieces to add to it. So only a few months to get this done!
I still wanted to include trees in all of my pieces somehow. Thought this would be the element to tie into my other pieces I wanted to use. Also my use of color and textures of course. Then I had to ponder quite a bit. What will make this seem like another reality with trees included? Then an idea struck me. Sea creatures floating in the woods! I did get inspired by another image on instagram which appeared like a fish swimming through the dark woods, but it was a black and white photo-graphic. I thought this was a great idea but I could put my own spin on it, make it bright and lighthearted. My first thought was an octopus and then two fishes swimming and dancing in the woods would be so fun to paint.
I've been enjoying drawing out my ideas first. This must be my illustrator background coming into play. Also it lets me play with color ideas I'm thinking about. The other vision that popped into my head while brainstorming....a self-portrait! I realized the idea of looking into another reality could easily be translated to a self-portrait. A window into what makes me, ME!
Now....onto the fun part! The process of coming up with the ideas is always the hardest part for me. Once I have a vision in my head though and I get excited to create it I know I am onto something. Of course this summer I had SO many vacations and weekend getaways planned it made it SO hard to get started and finish. The week before I was leaving for a week vacation in Vermont I had only just started these three paintings. I knew I wanted to get a rough base going before I left so I wasn't stressed the entire vacation! Luckily with determination I made that happen! First goal met this summer.
Of course I came back and was going on vacation again in a week and a half. Why did I do this to myself?! To be fair I didn't realize how much detail and work I was going to have to do before the Whistler show. I also had planned on making a sculpture piece using real actual window panels but that idea went out the window (hehe) a month before the due date since I was only halfway finished with my paintings. If there is one thing I can say about myself I am pretty realistic with deadlines and on how long things will take me. That eased the stress on me a tad. See the progression below on my self-portrait.
This piece is pretty large, for example the face might be a little larger than my own face. Lightning I added late in the game going into my neckline since I have been having A LOT of issues with neck pain. A recent realization is I might have TMJ. Clenching my jaw while I sleep without even realizing it. Also sleep apnea is a possibility. Trying to take care of myself but its been very hard preparing for this show! Sometimes your body takes a backseat, as does the stress your body is going through screaming at you to listen up! Dizziness, migraines constantly, and nausea I have had for almost 2 years now. Working on this self-portrait has definitely made me look at myself more closely!
This painting was a beast this summer! I haven't done many paintings with this much detail and boy were those suckers a bitch! Trying to get the color/contrast right was really a challenge for me. I wanted it to feel like you were floating into this world so I was really trying to get it to look realistic to some extent. This painting is also HUGE! Over 4 feet wide it barely fit in my studio space. As you can see when I first started the painting I didn't have vines continuing from the octopus tentacles. I knew something was off and I got some feedback from a friend with this idea and I think it helps the composition A LOT. It helps the flow of the octopus legs immensely. This painting was always about 2-3 sessions behind the others because it was just so much work!
These fishes mean a lot to me. Having a very meaningful relationship this year, so painting these two fishes swimming in the woods has been very therapeutic to how happy I am in that part of my life. These are also some of my favorite colors its very soothing to look at. Adding silver leaf to the fishes scales was also a great moment I knew it was working the second I finished. An AHA! moment if you know what I mean!
These are not the final paintings....you should come to the Whistler museum September 26th-November 3rd to check them out! It's possible these paintings may not all be in the show, the Whistler Museum is curating the space. But it was a fun ride and I love all these pieces nonetheless! The reception is on September 29th from 1-3pm. I will be there come and say hi!