Monday, March 28, 2011

a rickety, but creative, process

During both pregnancies, my sister Emma had her baby bump set in a belly cast as a memento. Hannah painted a scene of an African savanna on the first one.

When Em told me she wanted me to paint the belly cast from Teo, I was at the same time excited and nervous. I didn't want to mess it up. And it's been a reaallllly long time since I've done any painting.

Emi asked if I could do a marine life scene. So at first I thought I might do the same color scheme as Hannah's painting, but instead of silhouette, I would make the water dark and the fishies bright and colorful. So I started with a bright yellow base coat.

Then I painted on the deep blue sea...

I had turned my dining room into a studio. I was getting in the groove again. It felt good.

But then I got stuck. I knew I wanted to do mamas and babies. But suddenly school bus yellow seemed totally wrong for the whales, basking in some sun rays from above. And I wanted to make the dolphins blue too. The palette was turning tonal. "That's okay," I thought. "I'll do a coral reef and tropical fish at the bottom and they be bright and colorful." Colin even started helping me by painting some of the coral reef.

Problem was, I didn't like it. Something didn't feel right, no matter how much I painted and painted, but I couldn't put my finger on it. So I put it away for a while. I sort of forgot about it for a bit, though in the back of my mind, there was a gnawing feeling. Must. finish. that. painting.

Then inspiration manifested itself in the most unexpected place. I was at a dinner party, where my friend Kadina was painting faces. The electric green animal print she painted on my face was super-cool.

Hannah snap a photo on my iPhone and we carried on with our night. But the next day, I looked at it again and suddenly I had the inspiration I needed. I pulled out the belly cast and all of my paints and art supplies and I got to painting. Green, lots of green. I muted the sea turtles. I painted over the fire orange sea horses. I green-tinted the crabs. I even covered up the yellow strips on the angelfish. The last to go was the coral reef. I left just enough coral-colored coral for a little pop.

Now, the only yellow that's left are little specs of the undercoat peeking through the deep blue water. It looks like electrified plankton drifting through the sea.

Dang, that felt good. It's done. I gave it to Em & Kev yesterday. I'm pleased. Here it is.


Emma and Kevin Kouri said...

And we LOVE it!!!!! Sapphie already calls it Teo's belly! It's beautiful. Thank you Auntie!!

Nicci Micco said...

I'm just discovering this post now (and also your Sapphie Sketch one). LOVE. You are so talented... and what an awesome and amazing gift! xoxo

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