Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Women: My Current Topic for Paintings

After finishing my painting, "She's Allowed," I had an idea or inspiration land in my brain. I could create a painting about women that are not "allowed." And I loved my child image so much, and felt she had so much impact that she could be included with the question, "Will She Be Allowed?"

In these pieces the women are anonymous. Painting the clothing as one, and having suggestions of faces with no personality are all part of this exploration.

I am also enjoying flattening my painting, showing very little dimension which gives a painting a contemporary feel that I like.

In "She's Allowed," the shapes and lines are static. I've had fellow artists comment that it is perhaps lacking in design or could be more dynamic. As a response, I have adjusted the newer painting to have more broken up shapes. Does it make for a stronger painting? You be the judge as I take you through my process of creating "Will She Be Allowed?"

I love adding very individual components to my work. That often includes stamps that I make for a particular painting: hieroglyphics for paintings about Egypt or petroglyphs for river paintings. For this painting I chose Afghanistan as my backdrop. I have not been there, but I have been in other parts of the world where women wear burkas, minarets pop up in the landscape and sand covers the earth.

The stamp for this piece began as a web translation search. I wanted to use Arabic letters, but more than that, words. I do not put these down to be read, necessarily. For one thing, I am merely copying shapes, and they are probably not very well done for any Arabic reader. I use these as much for myself to remember the essence of my connection with the message I am working with. The English words I chose to translate were "women" and "Will she be allowed."

Oops! The first one is not going to work because I need a mirror image! You'd think I'd learn, but in my excitement to do something, I sometimes make twice the work! These are made with craft foam on blocks of interior insulation.

Next, I made collage paper by putting a blue/black gesso on newspaper, then stamping on it with acyrilic paints after it dried.

After all this preparation I was ready to draw and start the painting. The way I get the consistently flat look to the garments is with a number of high pigment washes put on with a sponge. A final step is with a mouth atomizer.

Everything I did not want dark blue is covered with masking fluid or clear contact paper.

My next step was to put color on the faces and background with watercolor and put on my first stamping, then covering with an acrylic veil.

Adding my collage papers was great fun. I had made so many pieces with various blues, that I had a lot of choices. My child got her costuming from more web research into clothing you can buy for children in Afghanistan.

The finishing touches:

  • Adjusting the colors on the minarets
  • Adding darks to and breaking up the sand with more stamping
  • Putting eyes on the women with hints of mesh over the open area

Will She Be Allowed
Mixed Media, 29 x 22 inches

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