Painting “Ingenue”

Take a peek at how “Ingenue” came to life…

My process for “Ingenue” started with an underpainting of clear tar gel and expressive brushstrokes of acrylic paint.  This is truly an intuitive process and I love to paint blocks of color in a pattern.  I also think about analogous and complementary placement of color and let the drips fall in a random fashion.  I particularly like the organic nature of clear tar gel and this application gives just the right texture. The substrate is a 12 x 12 x 1.5  gallery wrapped canvas.

Painting the figure always requires careful observation of proportion.  Though this is an abstract expressive painting I did want the proportions to be correct.  It took me quite a bit of time to iron out some of kinks and I went back and forth on her body type, shape of her torso, and legs.  I loved her stance.  She is ready for what is next…and as the artist, I really had to let her lead the way.  With this type of painting, I did not have a photo for reference since it comes from my imagination.  I rely on letting the painting process bring the image to life.  At times it can be enormously frustrating and I recall many hours of painting and re-painting to get it just right.  At one point I had made a change that was totally wrong and it threw me into a tailspin of emotion.  I pushed forward, changing shapes, pushing and pulling the image to where she needed to be.  This is the agony and ecstasy of being a creative.  It is not an easy process but each time a break through happens I feel the painting achieves a greater depth of expression.

The background always presents a challenge for me.  I love pattern, design and am striving toward the balance of just enough.  At this point I have framed the image and let the square canvas shape dictate my placement of color.  I was not liking this look, too boxed in, too predictable.  Also her short hair was not working.  The vibrant color on her body was good.  I loved the pieces of underpainting that appeared when the negative space is painted and the figure defined.  Still…she is pushing me toward something more.

Quite a bit more!  After seeing Diana Krall in concert at Red Rocks I was inspired to give “Ingenue” longer hair.  During the concert, a slight breeze kept swishing through Diana’s hair.  The movement caused an almost ethereal atmosphere on the stage. Diana kept tossing her head to keep her hair away from her face, it was so beautiful, simple and sensual.  I came home and immediately changed “Ingenue” and gave her hair new dimension.  As I pushed and pulled color, I noticed how the clear tar gel became more evident in the background and I liked seeing it as part of the design. Pops of color around the edges helped to unify the painting and invite a lingering view.  The little surprises of design around the image require a closer look and are part of my signature expression.  “Ingenue” was painted specifically for the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Gala silent auction.

She developed slowly…like a Polaroid photo.  She is engaged, complex, and bold.  Her eyes are covered because she cannot see into the future.  Yet she is eager to step out into the world and make a difference.  Her story is our story…

The Gala was a wonderful success!  “Ingenue” made her debut with over 70 paintings from brilliant and talented artists from the Pikes Peak region.  She was purchased during the silent auction by a patron of the arts.  Someone who has an appreciation for handcrafted works and thankfully someone who likes my style.  As an up and coming artist  I am honored and deeply appreciative “Ingenue” has a new home and can bring joy to those who enter into her presence.  May her story continue to inspire!


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