IN THE STUDIO
What I'm currently working on.
This past year, I've been working in a new style with new inspiration – my experiences. Recreating personal photographs of places I've been, with paint. I am not interested in realism (for now), colour and line are my focus in achieving an expression of my memories. In this post, I'd like to share a bit of my process, and what I am currently working on.
Monterosso al Mare.
One of the five villages in Cinque Terre, which is one of the places my husband and I travelled to on our honeymoon. As usual, I took a lot of photos. I was sipping on a margarita when I took this shot.
Fun fact: this beach has a giant on it! Read about it on one of my favourite sites, here.
The painting is a decent size at 36"x30" and painted with acrylic on canvas. According to my Instagram feed, I began this painting almost a year ago. Since I usually have a few pieces on the go at once, it is not unusual for me to continue with a painting at a much later date. Right now it's close to being done.
In the beginning, I try not to plan too much. They'll be a few sketches of what I'd like to use from the photo, but I prefer to work as I go. I'm more interested in the spontaneous lines and colours that I'll decide to place at that moment. I go back to my memories and remember what I loved looking at while I was there. That sparkling water, the colourful umbrellas, the interesting shadows and shapes
Here is the original Instagram post from last year to explain how I started this painting.
1. The photo reference
2. A very rough sketch in my sketchbook to plot out my focus in the painting, with special attention to the basic shape I'll need 3. The initial sketch on the canvas with pencil and then going over it in paint. The beauty with acrylics is that you can easily paint over what you don't want anymore
4. The first layer of paint, or underpainting. Some people do this in one colour, but I like to get all of the basic colours down first
This point is a series of adding colours – darks, lights, all across the spectrum. As I said, decisions come as I work and the strategy happens during the journey. If I'm ever not pleased with the work done in a session, I can always change it next time. The most important thing is not feeling the anxiety of getting it perfect. No over thinking is allowed. The best painting sessions are when I can free myself from thinking self-consciously and get into a state of flow.
Side note: "flow" is not just a pretty word. Find out more about the psychology of flow here: positivepsychologyprogram.com/mihaly-csikszentmihalyi-father-of-flow/. It'll help you find your happy place.
Here are a few photos from various stages.
Sometimes, I need a more detailed sketch to understand the shapes and line better. This drawing was worked on from Oct 31–Nov 14, 2016, as part of my morning ritual. I still use it as part of my reference material and may still need some more sketching to complete the painting.
It isn't finished, but, this blog post is. Please follow me on Instagram, where the progress of "Monterosso al Mare" will continue.
Thanks for reading and bye for now!