This week’s prompt over at Illustration Friday is ‘Hair’. This is the perfect opportunity to show you two of my newest paintings! Both of these paintings include figures with long, flowing hair – at least, that’s what I see!
As I explained on a previous blog post, I’ve been experimenting with a new abstract painting technique. I start with an image that is purely abstract – I work wet-on-wet on the paper, use lots of paint and water and allow the paint to ‘flow’ in the direction it wants to go (sometimes I help it along). I add textural elements such as gauze, and then I allow the first layer to dry. After it has dried, I start adding more layers, and then an image begins to form – almost like a Rorschach test! As the image begins to form, I help it along by adding in details with a fine brush. In the end, I find the painting isn’t so abstract anymore.
In this first painting, I saw a female figure, floating on her back in the water. I imagined her as some kind of sea goddess, and gave her long, flowing hair. My 3-year-old son still says it looks like a jellyfish though, and points out the ‘tentacles’! I like that about abstract art – people can see in it what they want to. We all bring something of ourselves to the art we view.
In the second image, I also saw figures in the water. This time, I saw two figures and imagined them having tails – so they became mermaids. I added some scales, and like the sea goddess, long flowing hair.
What do you see in the images? Do you see the figures that I see? Do you see a jellyfish like my son does, or do you see something else?
I’ve never been good at meditating. Most of the time I have trouble switching my brain off to be able to sleep, let alone meditating. But I do find that creating art is a form of meditation for me, especially when I’m creating more intricate pieces and lots of little swirls. I get lost in the painting.
Two of my most recent painting are great examples of this.
For these two paintings, I was initially inspired by Linda Melvin’s abstract watercolours. I started working wet-on-wet and letting the paint flow and do its own thing. I also used gauze as a textural element, as she does with some of her work. But that’s where the similarities end.
As you can see, my work is very different to hers. In her tutorials, Linda talks about the importance of coming back in and enhancing an image after it dries. This is the stage at which I get carried away! For both of these paintings, I began to see a shape emerging from the abstract patterns – in one I saw a humanoid figure, and the other, a dragon-like shape. As I went in with my fine paintbrush to enhance the images, I accentuated the shapes I saw. In both cases, I did not know what the shape would be until the initial layers of paint dried. I used swirls and patterns to add details to the images.
I really enjoyed creating both of these paintings – I loved the way I could switch off my brain and get lost in the small details, and the way that an image emerged from the painting seemingly on its own. When I paint, I feel calm and peaceful, and it’s the closest thing I get to meditating.
At first I wasn’t sure I was even going to contribute to this week’s Inspire Me Thursday. I thought about making homemade soup and photographing it, but it’s the middle of summer here and I just don’t feel like eating soup.
Eventually I came up with this idea:
The original plan was to do a background and then paint over with black to make amoeba-looking shapes. But I liked the background so much that I thought I would just keep it the way it is. You can imagine the microscopic amoebas floating around in that water.