Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Fruits of the Wedding

Returning from our daughter, Tamia’s, wedding with Cash Philo last July we came back with a hugh bonus.  Karen had captured gigabytes of images with her Canon Powershot -- painting subjects.  Her photos from just that one trip could keep my brushes moving for years.

So, a pending road trip north last spring (look for future blog posts) gave me a quest this spring.  You can’t visit family without gifts so I dug through Karen’s photos easily finding subjects to paint for Tamia and Cash.  What a way to relive one of the highlights of our lives -- that cold summer day in Alaska’s Hatcher Pass where the glow of the bride turned that near-frozen corner of the surrounding tundra into a tropical paradise.  I spent much of this past winter and spring re-basking in that glow as I happily moved paint from my palette onto a clean white canvas.

I selected two images to paint, one at that moment of moments during the wedding, the second at the reception when Karen focused on three children who drifted into their own worlds at the affair. 

I love to paint people -- if the image captures a moment that speaks to me on an emotional level.  A batch of photos may show the likeness of a person or persons, yet if one expresses their personality, takes me into that moment -- a moment I feel will still resonate with viewers over time -- that’s what I want to depict on canvas.

                            And the Bride Said "I..."   18 x 24 inches   Alkyd on /Canvas

In the case of Tamia, I have long wanted to paint a close-up of a face -- just a person’s head without the supporting “cast” of a background and the clothes (as much fun as they are to paint).  When I saw Karen’s wedding photos, I knew she had unearthed an “adit into a gold mine.”  After multiple passes rendering the textures and variety of colors in her face, I gave a sigh of relief, “well done.”  I set it aside.  Several days later I took another peek.  “Yikes, it looks like she had visited a make-up artist at the Alaska State Fair.  No one’s skin is that perfect.”  Gulp, I didn’t want to lose it, but I had to go back and undo perfection.  It needed more passes to bring life to her complexion.

                                                 Mothers in the Making   18 x 24 inches   Alkyd on Canvas

The image of the three girls speaks to how the maternal instinct of girls seems to express itself at a young age.  I hope I’m not being sexist, but I don’t have that ability to relate to very young children.  I suspect it’s a symptom of many males.  Like a final exam in a physics class, they strike fear in my heart.  I simply don’t know what to do with them -- at least until they are old enough to be read to and draw with.  In the case of this painting, I moved the girls into another part of the yard and even “planted” some different flowers in the foreground.  It’s an artist’s prerogative.