Wednesday, October 28, 2009

BrainStorming Ideas for a Painting

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

Is it worth it to keep old sketches? I have been reviewing old works that I have kept in my studio over the years to see if any still speak to me. The image below is of a large piece of grey-primed masonite on which I painted (in oil) several sketches from life many years ago -- perhaps 1997? I always liked parts of it, but these were short poses and I did not have time to finish. I also realize that it is almost impossible to recreate a model sitting -- the lighting, the pose -- Still, does my studio need the cleaning that badly? Hint: I am not at all impressed with the job I did on the woman's face in the upper left . . .

Once I made my decision, I cut the board along a pencil line (perhaps you noticed in the image before this one). The board was then sanded and re-gessoed, pretty much leaving the figure alone. (The other part of the board was completely redone and a new composition now exists on it.) I cannot explain why I have liked this sketch of the back of a man’s head all of these years, but I do. So, I took a photo and went into Photoshop to brainstorm ideas for the rest of the composition. My first step was to decide the direction of the light that would compliment my sketch. Then I would be more able to figure out what shapes I wanted to enhance the basic design.

I often spend time admiring the skies and taking images when so moved. I have been dying to paint clouds for years and return to them often. This next was one layered image with a silhouetted tree from my yard added to give me the contrast that I was seeking. I like this ok, but was not wow'd. But I just wanted to show you that for all of the paintings that you see, there is generally a lot of "behind the scene" thinking going on to brainstorm ideas for paintings, and in some cases, many drawings or collages in one medium or another that you may never see.

I will post the finished painting here soon. He will debut in Indianapolis after I arrive at the Franklin Barry Gallery for my presentation about “My Life as a ‘Madonnara’ (street painter) in Italy” on November 5th (small admission fee). The next night is an art reception for some of my new works, as part of the IDADA First Friday Art Tour, Friday, Nov. 6th, 6-9:00 pm.

Franklin Barry Gallery, 617 Massachusetts Ave., Indianapolis. Information: 317/822-8455.

October is National Arts and Humanities Month


Laura Grimes said...

Sometimes looking at old work can discourage me -- if it seems better than what I'm doing now!!!!!! Sometimes, it can encourage me, if it's worse. I threw out a bunch of old drawings last year, and I think it's time to do it again. Life drawing twice a week adds up to a lot of paper. Recycling bin, here I come!

Kelly Borsheim said...

ha, Laura, I had not thought of that kind of depression. For the ones I end up saving, there are a whole lot more that will never leave the studio in the original condition. I have burned some (I like fire a lot), and I have repainted over others. But sometimes, even a bad sketch might contain a decent gesture and I have a hard time getting rid of them.

I must have a fear that I will someday run out of ideas ;-)


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