Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Egypt Painting

Content and symbolism are components I work hard to put into my paintings. This is making me more aware of the process I use for creating a painting. This recent Egypt-inspired piece is a good example. Here is list the list of influences, thoughts, and sources that proceeded and were gathered while working on this painting.

  • A trip to Egypt last April--think hot
  • Several photos from that trip: columns, hieroglyphics, temples, me coming out of a tomb
  • A stamp of hieroglyphics I made for an earlier painting
  • Ideas for making the walls look ancient
  • Two small paintings (one of a figure, another of columns) I did in a Ratindra Das workshop in October
What I do over a period of time is gather source materials and envision what I want I want to say in a painting. The content and ideas I hope to communicate in this painting are: heat, the amazing architecture and art, ancient Egyptian communication, contrast of modern with old, and the transitory nature of being a tourist. All of these pieces are part of telling "my story" and my own experience of visiting this ancient culture.

To develop the aged walls, I used the following technique. After sketching in my composition, I tore up small pieces of paper towel, drenched them in watercolor pigment, applied them to my watercolor paper and let them sit for awhile. I was careful to remove them while still damp so they wouldn't stick to the watercolor paper.

I decided on a red sky and a dominance of warm colors for the painting to imply the heat of the Egyptian desert and to reflect the actual colors of the landscape. The painting began coming together as I used hieroglyphic symbols on the background building and left pillar shapes to be worked on later.

It was only after the painting was finished that I saw the connection of the small figure in the relief and the modern figure coming out of the tomb.

Once I got the painting to this point, it stayed like this for quite awhile. I was so in love with the figure being so 'Milton Avery-esque." After getting personal critique from Jeanie McGuire, emphasizing the importance of a paintings unity (how a painting must look like it was all painted by the same artist) that I let go of the white hat and coat.  I did a minimalist job of painting the suggestion of a face and a few clothing details.

I'd love to hear your comments on this painting and how well it communicates and resonates with you, the viewer.

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