What am I? Where have I come from? Where am I going?
Preliminary notes above. Computer generated image left. Mayan Mural below. Gauguin painting far left below.
What Am I? Where Have I Come From? Where Am I Going? 2010 Final version
The painting above right with the figure with a bird on it's head ( i'll call it nature boy, i think ) is derived from the image at left that i did on the computer using microsoft paint. I printed of the computer pic and drew a cartoon of it on a large canvas in permanent black marker. It's interesting that the balance of an image can falter when the scale is increased. I remember it seemed natural to make the line of trees on the right a little higher on the larger canvas.
Initially, I painted the face and hands the same colour as the computer pic, but it was too harsh and over bearing on the bigger scale. After some various colours I settled on the one seen above. The flowers either of the cenral figure were also painted much like the digital image but again, after much trial and error, making them a uniform violet blend aids the balance of the composition at that scale. Because the figure is so unrealistic and stylised, I decided to make the trees more realistic in terms of colour.
The eyes on the figure have probably been painted up to six different ways. I rejected the look of the eyes on the computer pic quickly. As the painting evolved I hit on the idea of the eyes reflecting the environment in which the figure stands as a way of putting the personage 'in' the place we see him. I think that worked quite well and it also meant that the eyes confront the viwer, which I liked. However, it posed a new problem in that the original bird on the head also looked directly out of the picture to the viewer. This meant that the figure and the bird were competing for attention which caused my eyes to wander annoyingly when looking at the painting. I have painted so many different birds in so many different positions on that head, and still am not satisfied. I recognised I was getting overly bird frustrated about a week ago and put the picture aside lest I make a rash decision and regret it or even lose the picture all together. That's something I took a while to learn many years ago and it is the reason I have several works on the go simultaneously. I can just shove the problem one aside and keep working on something else.
This picture is about 97% finished. I just have to settle on the bird's eye and legs and also make decisions about gloss levels.
Nature boy 2009 Final Version
Today, November 23, 2009 I finally finished the Nature Boy picture. I filled in the bird's beak, feet and eye with yellow ochre. Not only does it tie in with the yellows of the landscape but it also lifts the blue in the body of the bird. I think this is the most difficult painting I have actually finished. Plenty of others have been just as problematic or even more so, however I never managed to finalise them. They ended up being either painted over or ditched all together. This has taken several months during which many other paintings have been started and finished.
In The Valley 2010
In The Valley 2010 Final version
The images above are of a painting I started at the same time I started the Nature Boy painting. Although, it has no preliminary image to reference as Nature Boy did, it is obviously derived from the same humanoid motif within a landscape. This one was drawn directly on to the canvas in black marker immediately after I finished drawing up Nature Boy.
The two paintings have been progressing simultaneously from the beginning, although there was long period when this one sat untouched because Nature Boy was driving me crazy with that bird and the flowers. Not having a reference image to turn to has made painting this one more of an adventure, an unknown out come faces me. Today I painted the blue around the fish on the right and I am not happy with it.
Apart from the turtle on the left and this area around the fish, the lower half of the painting is pretty much done. The sun and rays were painted in today and even though the colour is not right, I like the way it's inclusion implies rising or uplifting when compared to the background in the earlier photo. Areas still not finalised include those previously mentioned and also the eyes and mouth of the main figure. The tree trunks in the background along with the black areas between them also need further consideration.
The third photo above shows the final painting around the fish on the right. I am satisfied with it now and once varnished, the fish will get a lift. The sun has been repainted and I extended it's glow into the clouds. I think I need to make the centre of the sun more intense and that should just leave the eyes and and mouth of the central figure and the detail in the turtle at left to do to finish the painting. * In early 2010 I reverted back to my original concept for this painting. That was to have a lot of stuff going on in the lower two thirds and the top third free and airy in comparison. Many subsequent paintings have been structured in a similar way. Just feels right to do them that way at this tme.