Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Creating prototypes

Prototypes for "Arabesque Brides"

In March, Bob and I went to a concert at the John F Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, DC, while there for a conference. There was a gorgeous display of over 40 elaborate bridal gowns worn in the 22 countries of the Arab world as part of an upcoming show, "Arabesque." The mannequins were artfully arranged in the lobby. I took some photos intending sometime to use them in my art.

I am working towards a piece for "Linear Perspectives," the Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society show in October. I must complete it before the end of the month if I intend to show this piece. (I have a backup plan, not to worry). So last night I painted a quarter sheet. I decided to invent a background that suggests mountains in a dry land, but very linear in keeping with the theme of the show. I know I want to show the beauty of the gowns, so they will be brightly colored and detailed, but the overall plane is flattened. I'm not great at Photoshop (I'd rather paint), so I printed out the three brides in a size that would work for an 8 x 10 prototype, and I cut out the three brides. By now I was recalling the paper dolls I so loved as a child.

I took two failed paintings and cut them into several smaller pieces. I drew the background on the back of each piece and experimented with color, tints, tones, shades, and value patterns. This process took little time and I could then put my three ladies on the background to check results. At one point, I looked at the blog of Peggy Stermer-Cox, one of my favorite artists. Peggy does non-representational work and has some knockout series on her blog. She spends lots of time experimenting with value patterns, design, and color. I checked out Kitty, Kitty, because I love her use of blue and orange, which is very soft. (Do check out her work -- her name is an active link .) I'm also being influenced by Myrna Wacknov's recent experiments with color on her blog.

I knew I would be using Cad Red for the bridal dresses, so I took some license with the color combination. The second picture shows my use of Cad Red Light and Windsor Blue (green shade) for the mountains and foreground. I loved how they neutralized each other. I did introduce one other color, Raw Sienna, into the sky, and dropped in the red. I decided that I am quite taken with the neutralized background. My next step is to do a half-sheet painting.


Peggy Stermer-Cox said...

Hi Mary, Thank you! What a pleasant surprise to be mentioned! I am intrigued by your design project. I particularly liked the second prototype, but I think they all could work. I look forward to seeing more!

Mary Paquet said...

Peggy, thanks for checking in. I do like the second one. The neutral sets off the bright colors nicely. We'll see where this goes....ah, the adventures in art.