Make a Remark
This is my painting for Gallery Nucleus's Curiouser and Curiouser show opening this Saturday. Follow this link to learn more about the show.
When asked to do a piece for this show, I knew right away that I wanted to paint the Red Queen, but my way. I wanted to paint an image that didn't automatically make you think of Alice in Wonderland, something that would just be a cool painting. I had a plan in mind before starting this painting, an idea of what I wanted to do and where I wanted to take it, unfortunately it didn't quite happen as I had wanted, and I'll explain why.
I originally wanted to paint in oils, but I knew that I would be cutting it close with the deadline. So, I decided to paint with acrylics. The surface is 16"x 20" birch that I sanded, gessoed, sanded again, gessoed once more and then finished with one more sanding. I decided I would use Golden Open's which I have messed around with before on other surfaces and quite enjoyed. However while painting this painting, I went through it . . . it was a struggle and fight every bit of the way . . . I was reminded of the frustrations of painting and what it was like when I was first learning how to paint. I'm not sure what the problem was? Was it the Golden Acrylics? Was there something else wrong?
When I paint with acrylics, I build thin layers of paint on top of one another, no real details, just blocking in . . . once I'm happy with the way it's coming along, I get out the small brushes and finish with the details. I did that with this painting and it seemed fine. It was when I began detailing that the problems started, and it was too late to start over.
When painting with acrylics, you must know that the color and value you place down will dry darker than the color you first put down, that is a given. And like I said, I have used the Golden Open's on other surfaces and they seemed to have worked great? For some reason, while painting this painting, the paint would dry WAY DARKER than what I mixed and put down . . . to get the highlights on the top of her hand for example took layer after layer after layer. At one point I even experimented and put pure white down to see what would happen and that too dried as a light grey. Another strange thing happened. At one point, I dipped my brush in water to clean off a bit of paint, and it was as if I took some turpentine to an oil painting, the water lifted the layers of paint beneath . . . talk about frustrations . . . !
So, by the end of the painting, I had painted the face three times and the main hand three or four times, it took days to do a painting that normally should have taken me two days, three days tops.
I decided to compensate for what was happening, and understanding that my time was dwindling away, I decided to go half detail and half painterly with this painting, finishing with some palette knife painting, so I focused my detail where I want people to look and was loose and more expressive in other areas.
I rather enjoy the final look of the painting and the struggle I went through to finish was odd, but also a memory that I will cherish as it tested my character as well as my patients. I hope if in the L.A. area you will have time to see the show so you can see the painting in person.
Here's another photo taken of the painting. Seems like every picture taken captured something different? There are bits in this photo that are more accurate, and bits in the one on top that look close . . . hopefully together, these two pictures will give you an idea of how the original looks?