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A while back, Mike and I took a trip to San Francisco. It happened to be Fleet Week (many ships come in and lots of sailors take shore leave)and I took a few photos that I thought I'd enjoy interpreting on paper.
I used the photos as references, but then simplified, abstracted, rearranged to come up with the following painting.
Shore Leave 14 x 21
As you can see, I used patterns to create the urban setting I was looking for. And I felt I captured the flirtiness between and male and female figures, or rather the attempts to flirt and the rebuffs, so the painting tells a story and has a freshness--isn't overpainted. However, in the end, I was disappointed because overall it looks like a fairly ordinary watercolor painting.
I really wanted to try something exciting to jump start my creativity and challenge myself beyond the safety zone. I still was interested in the youthful, uniformed figures, so I drew them on a fresh piece of 17 x 22 watercolor paper.
I then ratted through some old paintings and came upon one with great color, but little point or content.
Nature Abstract 14 x 22
I had very little in mind other than the idea that I wanted to include some white space with created pattern and a warm color to cool colors scheme to further emphasize the rejection from the women in the piece. So I just started to cut and paste.
The more I cut and pasted. the braver and more excited I got. By the end of 3 or 4 sessions of pasting and weighing down the newly glued pieces, I had finished the collage part.
And so the piece now sits in my studio waiting...waiting for me to figure out how to finish this work. How much detail should I add to my sailors? Should I do it with paint or ink or both? Should I add more pattern to the collaged parts? Should I eliminate or soften some of the patterns from the old painting parts? I'd love to get your thoughts.
Luckily, I meet with my critique group on Friday and if I haven't already finished the piece, I can rely on many suggestions from them, I'm sure.