Started with a textured base that I created with pieces of rice paper and gel medium. The couple that I created this piece for are also artists and they use a lot of texture in their work. I wanted to try to capture that aspect with this piece.
Added bits of gold foil to the area that will become the background. Not sure how much of this you can see in the final piece, but I think it added a bit of glow to areas.
Blocking in the tree with a bright yellow underpainting. My main concern was to capture the warmth of the light, even when most of the image is in the shadows.
Building up thin glazes of color to model the land. In general, I wanted to combine thin washes of paint with heavier detailed sections. Something I plan to play with more in future work.
Tobin supervising my progress from her window perch. I am working on one of my favorite areas on the painting, the upper right corner. I had asked about using glitter on the piece, and was nicely told to hold the glitter. I enjoy working with people on commission pieces because it challenges me to go outside my comfort zone, etc., but the more I stared at that upper right corner the more I knew it NEEDED glitter. One evening, agonizing over the situation, Mark turned to me and said "Stop being a pussy and put glitter on it!" After I recovered from my fits of laughter, the red glitter began to flow and I was very happy. On top of that surface, I painted the cell forms so that the glitter became pulsing lines of color peeking around the opaque paint. When I presented the piece, I explained the situation and they immediately said they loved the glitter, so my little glitter rebellion paid off.
The couple has a passion for Jade Plants, so I wanted to incorporate those into the composition. They also work a lot with podular forms, so originally I had the Jades transforming into the pods.
Here I have layered a warm orange glaze over the maple, and formed the tree's mass a bit more.
A close up of the Jade Plants taking form and the pods getting a shadow.
I worked on this piece a lot at night, so the photos are on the dark side. Kinda funny to work on a piece about light in the dark
A shot of the layering of glazes, some more opaque limbs and the modeling of the tree.
Ti started her shift supervising. She is really a hands on manager, as long as the hands are on her!
I researched that Jade Plants bloom. I really loved that structure and it gave a bit of contrast to the dark shadows behind them. You can see a bit of the blue sky starting to appear between the leaves in the tree.
Finally, a day time shot! Check out the super amazing iPad holder my husband got me for my b-day! Now instead of balancing the iPad on my lap or the couch, I have it right there at eye level!
Pods are getting shaded and the start of the stripes on the Jade. More glazes to build up the shadows to make that ground really rich. No black is ever used on my paintings. This is a combo of reds, blues and greens.
Bringing in the sky and building up the lighter values in the tree.
The pods are really starting to take shape, but look a little too much like lemons at this point. The Jades are in full striped glory and I am really loving them. Might have to pick up a Jade Plant soon! They will work nicely with my Mother-Of-Thousands and my other succulents!
At this point I am feeling like something is missing. I review the materials they provided as inspiration and remember that she loves antique bird cages. I decide the one ground lump would make a perfect perch and shift the pods from the Jade Plant to emerging out of the cage. I like the movement it is giving and it makes it a bit more Surreal. Always a plus in my book!
I change the pods from yellow to green and that makes them less fruity. I also add some more worts just for fun. The visual texture I started in the lower left corner starts to take form. I wanted to balance out the cells in the upper right, so I added a bit of brown glitter to the lower area and created these spots which I highlighted in teal. At this point I am feeling like the piece is mostly finished, but then we had a party at our house. The question, "What does the bird cage mean?" was asked several times. I explained the original reason, but it sounded like a silly explanation. I needed to make the cage make sense in the piece and I felt like the lower corner was sorta lacking, so...
After pondering a few days, I could envision a silhouette of a bird coming out of the cage. I really liked the movement it brought to the piece. The original plan was to have the silhouette of the bird be created with interference blue so that it became a ghostly figure, but that effect looked better in my head than it did in reality. I used a swallow as inspiration and fully flushed out the bird. She still glows from the interference paints, and the motion lines complete the effect.
A stunning view of the piece in it's new home! I struggled with the title on this one. I kept thinking about capturing the light and the title Lightness of Being came to mind. I decided to shorten it to "Lightness" because it left it more open to interpretation, and I think this piece has a lot of stories to tell! Thank you Stephanie and Todd for a fun adventure!