Where do my painting ideas come from? Sometimes I wake from a dream with an image floating in my mind. When I'm out and about I'll spy a vignette from the corner of my eye that calls out to me. In my travels, I'm always carrying my Nikon 5300, a tiny Canon Power-Shot, or at least the camera in my iPhone. Everything I could use is catalogued. These tools are how I mesh the pieces of the puzzle that become a painting.
THE DIGITAL SKETCH
For the past month or so, I've been entranced by the image of last spring's pink full moon. Combined with the gnarly Costa Rica islets I've used before, and a sandy beach bathed in golden light, I had a "place" for my story that exists only in my mind - and on my easel.
In September, I saw a big flock of swans swimming in an inlet in Little Compton, RI. Swans are not just beautiful and graceful, but they mate for life.
There are several versions of this sketch. In one, the woman is nestling a huge bird in her arms. The one pictured here tells a more dynamic - and playful - narrative.
Everything is in movement. The dots and stripes of her costume flow as the woman falls in step with the swan. The bird's mate soars overhead, silhouetted against the pink moon. Far away, more birds fill the sky.
Once I start to paint, I know it will change. A digital sketch is, after all, just a concept.
A QUESTION OF SCALE
I continued to ponder the "pink moon and swan" theme. This one, with its deep blue sky and dark trees, began as a square. The girls posed for me on Martha's Vineyard years ago. The moonlit striped tents are also from the Vineyard. The rolling green landscape is Bermuda. The large swan became the third of the "three graces" in this sketch. I dressed the girls in costumes from my extensive digital wardrobe.
This is a complex composition. It was obvious that there was too much going on for it to remain square. The newly expansive sky gives it lots of breathing room. My next decision is whether to paint it on a 24" x 36" panel, or to tack a 6-foot-tall canvas to the wall and make it really big.
I shipped my most recent painting off to its new owner, who wrote: "The painting arrived yesterday afternoon. I carefully opened it and was delighted.
We have been rearranging artwork on our walls, trying to decide where to place it.
It brings me joy whenever I look at it, and for that I am grateful."
I am offering that painting, Sky Blue Pink, as a limited edition fine art print. The larger size is almost the scale of the original painting, and it's a remarkable piece for $395. I have added some other new prints to the various collections on my website. They start at $295, with free shipping, and I will include a lovely desktop calendar filled with my paintings with each order - consider it my gift to you!
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