Friday, October 11, 2013

Making the Mati

And, the mati saga continues...

I decided not to think too hard about those glasses I mentioned on the last post- my dad taught me it was always best to just squint your eyes and get the big picture, and get on with things. So I'm not sweating the details. The technique of painting on synthetic surface, as I mentioned earlier,  not only allows being loose, but actually encourages it. Now I'm not saying that my way is the only way, but it works for me to be loose and get out the 'spirit' of what I'm doing first, and then going back in for whatever detail I want. And this particular medium is just allowing me to do that, no questions asked. It is just so sweet...

So on I went. Decided to go with an 11x14 biggish size, and used tube watercolors this time to allow some deeper, thicker paint and layering. I don't have fancy stuff, just the Van Gogh brand and on my palette I put white, cobalt ultramarine blue, ultramarine deep, black, and added viridian to mix in a bit with the cobalt and white to get that super - pure sky aqua color in the 'iris' of the eyes.

 So a bit on the differences and similarities as I see them between painting with watercolors on paper and on synthetic surface:

The similarities:
1. you can get all kinds of awesome effects using water and manipulating the thickness of the paint vs. the water.
2. best to work light to dark
3. If you mix one color on top of another they will run together if wet.
4. um...

The differences:
1. You can pull up any and all 'mistakes' or things you don't like later, so there is no need for masking, or being freakishly OCD about things.
2. It's particularly slippery, and the drying time / blotting up time is quite a bit longer, which can be good or bad. On the one hand, the effects can be pretty cool, and you can manipulate for a lot longer. On the other hand, it may take a while to let one layer dry before you can put another layer on top.
3. Regarding 2 above, it is pretty cool to be able to literally lay a layer on top, like acrylic.

So  what I did here for this doodle painting was to start lightly with the outlines of my eyes. I used a seriously watered-down cobalt blue.  Next I went in with the light blue "irises" - they had to dry completely before I could put those little dark dots in the middle without running. Next step was to darken the outside of the eyes with the deep ultramarine color.

You'll notice I was not worried about perfection. The above painting took about 10 minutes. As I said, I knew I could always rework it later, and it's best to be free.

Later I went in with some of the deep ultramarine (which is the color that surrounds the eyes) mixed with black to show shadows, and I pulled up the dark blue by simply using a damp clean brush to get the highlights, thus achieving the 'glassy' quality -  You can see how much fun it is in this video- :)

I did rework it later, and in doing so just literally let some 'eyes' run together and create a background so I could get the shape of the cluster of eyes the way I wanted it. The goopy mess was worked beyond what you see here, but I did let it dry on its own a lot to allow the look of running water. I wanted it to look like the eyes were crying in the rain. Then I started splattering a bit of water on the eyes themselves to get some runny qualities around the edges.

It got a bit too messy even for me, so I went back and pulled up some of the runs in the center of the eyes.
All you have to do is wet it down with a brush or a paper towel and simply blot it up. You can see the eye on the lower left - that used to have an 'iris' and 'pupil' per se and I just blotted it to pure white.

Now I'm in the process of working on going in to the piece with a bit more detail in the center areas to give the illusion of a glassy reality in the center part. Thickening the dark areas, pulling up paint to show the translucence of the glass... I plan to let it just kind of 'blur out' as it gets toward the outside.

Oh and by the way- remember how I was talking about weird coincidences last time? Well I was dumping out a basket so I could use it to prop up a lamp and work on this. It was full of everything from hair-styling paraphenalia I never use anymore to photos I had turned over and memories I couldn't bear to give up. Waaaaay at the bottom I found this:

 Some charm that fell off of something I don't even remember....God is either a comedian, or just really really good. Because he gave me the spirit to paint that day.


Come out and see me THIS SUNDAY, October 13th at the "Fashion Square Art Fair" , 11 am to 6 pm. at the Orlando Fashion Square Mall. - I have been so blessed to be invited by Boone Fowler and Brian Barnett to participate in this exciting event. See the link below for more details on the event and I hope to see some of you there!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Do you see what I see?

A new work has been mulling over in my mind for a while, and I think it came from the new watercolor technique I love on synthetic surface. It's kind of funny- I cannot remember another time when it seemed the feeling of the medium itself gave me the idea of the subject matter, rather than me choosing the medium based on the subject matter. It's all topsy-turvy. But nevertheless, this idea is not going away.

My concept is to create a watercolor painting on synthetic surface of a glassy object, since the medium itself looks glassy.

I had done this previous piece of gladiolas, and coincidentally, though it was in process, I went to the Morse Museum and was so inspired by the Tiffany Glass. When the painting was finished it was an unexpected miracle that the flowers, and I think especially the leaves, took on the look of some of the backlit glass that I had seen. I think this must be where the idea of doing a painting of glass itself in that medium originated.

Specifically, what came into my mind for this new piece was the glass talismans that Americans call "evil eyes", in Greece they are "Mati", and they are used in many cultures. For me, the symbol is near and dear because I am Greek. The actual superstition and rites associated with it were never really a part of my family or upbringing, but now they are around whenever I am in a Greek store or restaurant, and of course, they have always been strongly associated with Greece.  Most people don't know that the talismans are meant to be defenses against the "evil eye" coming through other people, intentionally or not, not an evil eye itself.  Other reasons were just that I love the aesthetic of the eye when it is made into a glass piece, and the smooth, gorgeous blues against the white. And also, the idea of "vision" vs. "seeing", is just a timely subject of thought for me personally.

To me, I'm not that superstitious, but weird things happen to me all the time, and I can't really put them off as coincidence, so I try to believe in only the good superstitions. Like eyelash wishes. And ladybugs and things like that..Sometimes I think too much when things happen to me, but I always try to give coincidences a little thought, and consider if the universe is telling me a message. My sons sometimes, and my husband pretty much all the time, make fun of me for making too much of everything. My daughter completely gets it, but she's an artist...I like to think that it's what makes the two of us, and all of us artists, a little unique.

Today at lunch, I decided to sketch out the concept I had for my piece on my napkin, just to get it out, and to get the process started.

I took a picture of the sketch, and thought I would maybe share it in a blog about the process once I had finished the painting....

I was really inspired, completely saw the piece in my head, and was ready to start. I even was really in the mood to stay up really late and paint it. So I got my art table all cleaned off, started gathering my brushes, looked up my reference photos, put down the sketch and my glasses next to my computer, and got ready to start. When I looked over to pick up my glasses, this is what I saw.....

Some things are too good to be true.

I felt compelled to stop where I was and take stock. Do I draw this instead? Will anyone else get the depth of the irony?

I don't know, but I thought what the hell, maybe what it means that instead of waiting to blog about this piece until it's all done and fabulous, I just need to share the journey with you. Maybe the universe is telling me I need the collective conscious of all of you reading this to help me. Because I just don't have the heart to move those glasses to my exceptionally large Greek nose. I think it's time to sleep on it.