Saturday, November 23, 2013

Two Women, A Man and A Boat

Today’s blog entry is about process. It is about the way I use photography to help create my pastel paintings. The painting from 2 years ago was based on 4 photographs all of which I took with my digital camera. The photographs were the following: a picture of my husband, Joe standing on the beach, a picture of two women standing on the beach, a photo of clouds, and a photo of a boat. It is important to note that all of these photos come from my digital photo morgue - a categorized collection of photographs used to help in art production - that I keep on my computer and add to regularly. I used Adobe Photoshop to cut the people and boat from their particular photographs and then paste into the picture of Joe looking out at a calm south Florida ocean. I chose to reverse the image of the two women and have them look away from the boat and off the edge of the painting. I suppose that had to do with a philosophical notion that the artwork serves as a window into an alternate reality and that if the women are looking off the edge of the painting that suggests the extension of the artistic vision beyond the picture plain. I was relying on the strong triangulation between women, boat, and Joe to hold the viewer's attention on the picture plain, and I hope that worked. I include the individual photos and the photographic montage below.

There are some obvious differences between the painting and the photographic montage. First I moved the horizon up in the painting in order to achieve a more interesting division of space. Second, I moved the boat over so the triangle created by Joe, the two women and the boat is less obtuse. Third, my colors are much more blue and intense than those in the photographic montage. Forth, I’ve made more contrast in the colors of the painting in order to make the clouds more interesting. The added contrast helps me to achieve a glow in the water that is present to the eyes when I am at the beach, but that doesn’t show up very well on the photographs. Additionally, the way I work by making marks with the pastels creates an overall texture not present in the photograph.

The final photographic montage that I named "Two Women, a Boat and Joe."

By working with and continuously updating my morgue of digital photographs I am able to assemble images that I would never find in reality, images that sometimes speak to me of the calm spiritual nature I find within myself when I am at the beach. And, I get to work in the calm and cool space that is my well-lighted porch in Florida, or studio in Delaware with everything I need for production at hand. Change is the one constant we deal with in reality. By working with this process I can make a reality that becomes it’s own constant, never changing as I work, whether the artwork itself is peaceful, or tumultuous.

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