...and of course I have a blog post to go with this;
Somewhere along the line...my Frida's started getting more...ummmm...'painterly'. I always remember hearing that in art school and I kinda understood...but now I think I understand more. To me it's when each brush stroke becomes a painted feeling on my surface.
Because I need one more thing to do...lol
Nah, I had to sketch these pieces from Project Runway All Stars! What am supposed to do, just sit and watch?!
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Well, I am twelve pieces into the series and it has changed quite a bit and is still developing. When I first started I was working more with my fashion illustration style, using a red dress and stylized Frida motif as the unifying elements.
And then...my book arrived in the mail;
This book is unique because the majority of the book is her actual diary- sketches and doodle, musings and stream of conscoiusness writing...but in SPANISH. Luckily, the back of the book is all the translations of the material.
What happened next was...I started to do portraits of Frida and stopped with the fashion illustrations. You know...I had thought in January that I might work with the idea of fashion sketches all of 2019 but truth is...it didn't fit for Frida. I wanted to create images that included more of her face.
This was the first piece showing the change in direction;
And something just kinda clicked. When the art flows from my brain to my hands more fluidly...then I know that I am on the right path. If I find myself sitting and thinking too much instead of 'doing' then I know that it is time to switch it up. And it was.
So I kept making portraits;
The thing with painting is...for me at least...it is more of a push-pull relationship. When I work in watercolors, which I often do, the watercolors are less forgiving...so I make the work in 'one pass'. I either get it right or I don't, I don't keep re-working the piece.
When I work with thicker paint I always go with acrylic. I love how fast it dries, so if I want to change something I just let it dry then paint right on top. I love the smell of acrylic paint- I love the way it glides on the surface. I just love it.
But...I also had fun spray painting last year with some of my themes, and I still had spray paint and stencils so...this happened;
...and that is where I am right now with the series. Frida portraits on colored backgrounds, spray paint, her words scribbled on the surface- then sometimes sanded back...that is what I am doing- for now.
I wanted to add this post because it may be helpful to someone out there. If you are following my #LoveFridaJLG series then you know that I am painting on board. I really like the warmth that the brown of the board gives the works, even if it's in my imagination (you know, since I am painting on it with thick acrylic paint!) One thing that I noticed early on is that my boards were warping due to the paint on the one side. I remembered a trick from the late, great Mr. Ray Elmore at my beloved alma mater, East Carolina University.
If you have a cardboard or canvas board that is warping- just paint the back with gesso. This balances out the moisture and pulls on the fibers in the board (I don't know if that is the exact explaination, but it sounded kinda smart and legit to me) ...like magic, it flattens out the work.
For real, it works! Try it!
So it's not so much that I was too busy to post about the new series...it's just that I was still thinking it all through. When I was thinking about what I wanted to do I knew that I wanted to do something 'Valentine's Day' inspired...because...well...I usually do. Not always...but usually.
Well, something happened on Friday, February 1st that gave me my final direction and inspiration for my series. My colleague, Brent, arranged for a guest speaker. We hosted John Parra, a childrens's book illustrator that was the featured artist at the Biblioarte Festival in Lake Worth that weekend.
Here are some pics;
Parra shared some of his originals with us and it was his Frida Kahlo images that really spoke to me. They were breathtaking. So many layers- such rich color! And...TEXTURE. I was smitten. He shared his process with us, which involved layers of paint, masking and sand paper and I was intrigued.
So, I left from school thinking about Frida and those images...especially the techniques that he shared. And I started thinking...maybe I should do something with Frida imagery. I mean...I have worked with her image before. Heck, I have dedicated a couple whole month series to Frida Kahlo, and she has appeared in my daily art from time to time over the years;
Artist and Art Teacher