Sunday, January 4, 2015

Taking a Creative Vacation

What did you do on your time off? This winter break for me was all about resting up, going to see a few Christmas movies, napping, cooking, sleeping late, playing with my dogs, napping, spending time with my family, and napping. See a pattern there? How I will wake up tomorrow morning at 5:15 for school is beyond my vacation brain to imagine! I never did get to write those art report cards I was hoping to get a head start on for January, but I did add a few rows of stitches to my hand quilted throw blanket (it is so pretty!) and I finally did sit down at my easel to complete a few canvases.

"Cinque Terra"
24" x 30" Acrylic on Canvas
This painting is my interpretation of a scene from a photo Ricky and Barbara took on their trip to Cinque Terra in Italy. I started this painting back in February and it took me the better part of this year to complete it.

"I like painting big," I told Barbara. "If you want a canvas for your kitchen, I'll paint a large bottle of ketchup!" Instead, I was given this photo of a beautiful fishing town from their trip to Italy with hundreds of little tiny houses, windows and balconies. I grudgingly started it and then took a break from painting to learn a new hobby (as if I need another new hobby!). I always wanted to learn how to quilt and my family bought me an introduction to a quilting class for my birthday. The painting sadly sat on my easel with just a sky, a mountain and few cute houses painted in while I was learning how to measure, cut and piece together blocks of fabric with a new sewing machine.

Each month or so this past year, I sat down and worked on more sections of the scene. I was painting with a brush that literally had one hair. Did you know you could buy a 20/0 brush? Each window had shutters, or a balcony, or laundry hanging off the ledge. It was fun adding all the details but after a while, it began to resemble a cartoon more than one of my paintings. I aim for realism all the time with my work, but it is my interpretation of realism. I do not start outlining things like I was doing with these buildings. I finally made my way down the canvas to the cliffs and rocks and once again changed my painting style, blending colors and shapes to indicate a realistic scene. I loved this area of the painting because it was all me. Once the rocks were blocked in with color and shadows, I went back up to the houses and repainted them all. I was happy with the color choices, but simplified the scene, leaving just the windows and roof tops. It was finally coming together as a unified scene and I was once again painting regularly at my easel. This final scene had more adjustments made to the sky and the mountain as well as the rocks. The only fussy detail left is a tiny little person in a boat painted just for Ricky.

I knew it was finally complete when I realized that I loved it and felt bad that it was actually leaving my house for another. I wanted to make this painting so that when I went upstate to Yorktown Heights to visit my family, I would see one of my canvases on their wall. When is the next holiday? It is time for a visit yet?