Friday, December 28, 2012

Day 363 ~ Extend an existing painting beyond its edges.

I've been thinking about something I heard a writer say in an NPR interview. He was asked if it was difficult to come up with ideas to write about. He said not at all because he wrote what he would love to read.

This gave me the idea that I should create what I would love to look at. And I love to look at pattern and color.

So, when I was looking through a National Museum of Women in the Arts' book on women artists to find a painting to copy for this assignment, I found one that spoke to me in this way. I chose it for its pattern and color.

This painting, on which I've extended the borders, is by Lois Mailou Jones, an American who lived from 1905 to 1998. She enjoyed a successful seventy year career as a painter, designer and teacher.

The title of the painting is Ode To Kinshasa, painted in 1972. It is mixed media on canvas, measuring 48" X 36".

My piece is 10" X 7.5" and done on card stock around the print of the artist's piece from my computer. I used colored pencil, mostly, and added some cut paper, which she also used on her original.

When extending the image, I found some patterns in the costume designs by Julie Taymor for a production of The Lion King. I resisted the urge to carefully measure and mechanically duplicate the diamond shapes. Jones uses precisely cut paper shapes, but I wanted to keep what I did freer and more organic to match the other shapes in her composition. This let me have more fun with it.

I have copied the work of other artists often and always find it a fascinating way to build my vocabulary of techniques and approaches to what I do. This exercise helped me see how to build up areas with colored pencil to a rich value that I've not achieved before. I see how this can help me solve a problem I have with my pieces that I often feel unsatisfied with because they are lacking something I want them to have and really feel, to me, kind of anemic.

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