Sunday, January 11, 2009

Catching the Creativity Train

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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.

 
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I used the photos as references, but then simplified, abstracted, rearranged to come up with the following painting.

 
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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.

 
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I then ratted through some old paintings and came upon one with great color, but little point or content.

 
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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.

 
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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.

 
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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.

1 comment:

Ruth Armitage said...

Hi Margaret,
Way to break the mold. I agree that your first attempt looked fairly ordinary, though you did push the patterns... maybe not enough, or with colors that were too realistic. This time you've really pushed the colors in the background, and added some pattern. The hard part of doing just one part of the painting (i.e. background) at a time is then trying to integrate it all. I definitely think you need to put some color or pattern on the sailors... I will look forward to seeing what you end up with!