My daughter suggested that I take a photo of one of the pieces in this year's 52 WEEKS series while in progress to share my process which I thought was a wonderful idea. Each of the 52 canvases have been pre-prepared by utilizing layers of colour and pattern and once I decide whose portrait I will be painting I select a background that, to me, feels like it connects with the subject. Initially I wasn't drawing on the canvases prior to painting, instead just using my paintbrush to draw directly on the canvas with paint, but after a few weeks felt that I could keep more of the interesting background if I drew first. So, I transfer the image to the canvas, then begin by painting all the darks - the shadows, hair and clothing - using either prussian blue, dioxazine purple, pthalo green, payne's grey, alizarin crimson or a combination of any of those colours. I like using transparent darks at this stage and layering with thin coats of paint. Then I begin mixing skin tones which include titanium white, unbleached titanium, raw umber, and a myriad of reds, yellows, blues, purples and greens. Sometimes it is nice to have a messy palette at this point as my brush will pick up colour that I hadn't planned on which becomes interesting once I begin to apply the paint to canvas. And because I don't allow myself to labour over these, I have been pleasantly surprised by several happy accidents. It's part of trusting that intuitive sense of recognizing colour and form which happens after many, many paintings. Whenever I work too hard and think too much the paintings look laboured and stiff so I've really been enjoying myself of this series, which I was so intimidated by in the beginning. Learning to trust my creative choices has been quite freeing...that's how I feel today, in any case.
AIRdirondack Art Project