Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Stages of Creation: Part 4

Step 4: The Creation Stage

I have done the research, come up with the image, mediated, and completed the drawing, and planning. Now I am ready to really bring the painting to life. This process is the least complicated, but often the most demanding.

Before I start painting, I get the colors together that I selected from the previous stage. Then I use the tracing paper and transfer a very light tracing of the drawing on the painting surface. In this case, it is an Ampersand Clayboard Smooth board.

Then I might play some music to help connect me to the energy of the painting and to set a creative atmosphere. In the case of the Goose painting, I listened to a lot of medieval music, with a tendency toward heavy drums. The band Corvus Corax became a favorite while working on this piece. The music helps to connect me to the painting, which is beneficial when I have to stop and start painting many times.

When I actually start the painting, a curious thing tends to happen, I find myself entering a meditative state, similar to when I am creating the drawing. I have a tendency to lose track of time. In fact, I often can paint for five or six hours straight, thinking when I have stopped to take a break, that I have only been working for an hour or two. When I am working on the beginning stages of the painting I need to be sure that have a good chunk of time in which to work. If I have a place to be or have a job to go to, it is not a good idea to start painting, or I will end up missing the appointment or being late for work. If I wait until the end of the day, after I get home from work or my appointments, I might paint until the wee hours of the night and end up losing precious sleep! At later stages when I am doing detail work, I can start and stop more easily. So, sometimes I can paint for an hour before work or after I come home, without fear of disappearing from the world for too long!

Where do I go when I paint? If any of you meditate, you might relate to this experience more easily. I practiced very serious sitting meditation for over four years before I began shifting my focus more heavily on painting. To me, there is little difference between sitting meditation and painting. The only difference perhaps is in the posture. In both instances my mind is open, my thoughts are focused, but not fixed on any one thing. I am connected to the present moment. Suddenly, I am aware of no past, present or future, perhaps, I am aware of them existing all at once. I believe this helps me to create a painting that is connected to universal energy. It helps to keep my artwork authentic, which I hope, in turn, helps my work to reach people on a deeper level.

The tools I use here are:
(clockwise from the bottom left)
--The drawing from which I refer occasionally as I paint, mainly for the finer details that come later in the painting.
--The color sketch and color palette
--My laptop, which I use to view reference photos (I try not to print too many of my photos to help save trees and reduce waste)
--My tracing of the drawing (beneath that is a composite photo I created in Photoshop to use as a compositional reference)
--My cup of tea (now it is white or green tea, since I need a steady hand at this stage)
--My inks for painting
--Blending medium (for extending the drying time of the inks)
--Masking Fluid (This is a special liquid use to mark off areas of the painting that I don't want the ink to cover. Perhaps I want to reserve white in places. I can brush the masking fluid on and let it dry. Then I can paint all over it. When I am done, I simply rub the masking fluid off and the the area it covered is untouched by the ink. I can paint that area or leave it white.)
--Spray mister (to keep my palette wet so the inks don't dry out)
--Jar of water with my brushes in it
--Small jars of mixed colors
--Watersoluble Ink Pencils (These come in handy for very tiny details, as this painting is only 5 x 7")
--My mixing palette
--Paper towels (These are made from 100% recycled materials. I try to reuse them many times. Since once the ink dries it is permanent, I can re-wet the paper towel and don't have to worry about the ink running.)

The length of the Creation Stage various depending the painting. Some paintings can take weeks or months to complete, others only a few days. Usually, the smaller pieces take less time. But, if I am doing a lot of glazing work, the time to finish a piece can be significantly longer due to the drying time required between layers.

I am adding the finishing touches to the Goose painting now, and I will be posting the final piece in a few days. Be sure to check back to see the result. At that time, I will also share the background information about the Goose and why I chose it as a subject.



Helena said...

I like your idea of using the laptop right there on the drawing board. Ive a 6 x5 DVD/ CD player on which Ill sometimes play a movie that will put me in a frame of mine (like "Photographing Fairies" or "The Secret of Roan Inis" when painting fairie art) but usually I'll stare at my reference images for a few moments then go back and paint them without a source, from memory. Im going to try using my husband's laptop this weekend and put my forest preserve photos on the screen, then paint.Thanks!

Antony Galbraith said...

The laptop is handy. Just a word of caution: Be careful with water or tea near your laptop!

PS: I LOVE the Secret of Roan Innish and Photographing Fairies!

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