Torn magazines on 40" x 30" Canvas
In my previous post I mentioned working on a new collage piece, an art medium done with torn magazine pages and glossy acrylic medium on gallery wrapped canvas that I learned in a Derek Gores workshop. While in Vermont in June, I watched granddaughter Kelly, 16, ride a Gymkhana on her horse Spirit. I loved the action shot I took, so I cropped the picture which showed the entire horse and the arena.
Day 1: Draw the subject on the canvas with a black Sharpie
This looks like a simple stylized drawing, but I spent a lot of time making sure I got proportions correct and the action captured. I drew on several pieces of tracing paper taped together to make it the size of the canvas. I then transferred my drawing using graphite paper, doing small sections at a time and immediately going over the faint lines with my Sharpie. This was about a 2 hour job. I made some more adjustments after this photo.
Day 2: In the beginning....
I worked with Bob's daughter Jamie who wanted to learn the process. By the end of the day I thought is this mess ever going to come together. If you look closely, some things will later get covered over. Note the use of shoes to make the helmet and some of the black background. The horses nostrils include some horse shoes. Here I was thinking push and pull, with lights and darks. I had also selected a color palette. I decided on black and white with red. I worked about 4.5 hours.
Day3: I am encourage that this might work
I spent lots of time in the garage working away. My studio is a small L on my master bedroom and I have to be the messiest collage artist around, so I set up for collage in the garage. I also wear one outfit dedicated to collage work as I am wearing a liberal amount of medium by the time I am done for the day. Notice that the sweet row of olives has disappeared. Sometimes I have to kill something I like. I began to think this art was going to turn into something and shared it with Kelly's parents. Kelly was blown away with the work and her mom, an architect, designer, and accomplished carpenter decided she will try her hand at this type of art. Another 4 hours of work.
Day 4: The closer to the finish the slower I go
Now I am thinking how to vary the edges, refinements to the facial planes, the horse's eyes, the tack, and embellishments that tell a story. Kelly lives in a tiny town in rural Northeaster Vermont. My Vermont Life magazines helped with autumn leaves and words. Now I am thinking that the dark space is turning into a mountain. It's too abruptly steep for the weathered Green Mountains, but the state has few flat spots. Five more hours; I even sent Bob off to dance without me.
Day 5 is the finish, or is it? I need to walk by it many times and also check in with my critique group. Viewing the finished piece at the top, you can see that I modified the mountain (perhaps it suggests Vermont's signature mountain, "Camel's Hump"). I added some additional Vermont memorabilia, the horse's name "Spirit" in the upper left, and two photos of Kelly, one with Spirit when she led the hometown parade on her tricked out horse, and one with her sister Jamie's horse Sky that Kelly rode to Grand Champion in her class at the Vermont Classic Horse Show. They are small. You will have to search the right side in the darks to find them.
I had lots of fun telling a story. I added a bit of dazzle with gold and jewels -- Kelly is a stylish Junior in high school. The red sun glasses grabbed me after seeing Kelly's playful picture on Facebook wearing oversized joke glasses. Cabot makes our favorite aged cheddar cheese. The word Trail (part of the Long Trail micro brewed beer name) references the trail events she rides on Spirit. Another 4 hours.
I've been a bit obsessive over my art this week, neglecting all but the essentials. Bob and I did attend 4 Halloween parties and dances, though. We took first place with our Highlands Couple costumes at two events and second place at another. That is Bob's real kilt in his Anderson Clan plaid. I was the one that had to think up a costume!