I have one panel to go. As the artist, I have to admit the work is getting better as I progress. The risk-taking quotient has gone up as I continue the work. I’m more and more willing to break free of the pencil mapping I do in order to make sure each panel conforms to the others.*1 The mapping is a must for two reasons; 1) to make sure all the pieces of color line up from one section to another, and 2) Meryl won't look like Meryl if the drawing isn't absolutely correct. However, I am able to take creative risks with blending wet paint passages with several colors mixed to create skin textures that I was not willing to take in the first three panels. I am enjoying the conflict that process creates between the flat areas of color and the more nuanced textured sections of thick paint. In other words the battle between thin and fat paint works in this 5 by 7 & 1/2 foot portrait painting. *2
I probably won’t have time to go back through the panels and make corrections because I have but four workdays left to complete the final panel. The panel is only mapped about three quarters. So, I won’t begin to paint until tomorrow. And, the work will be interrupted by travel to Philadelphia for doctor appointments for my husband’s eyes. I will post photographs of the completed painting when it is finished and installed in the banquet facility at Characters Pub in downtown Lancaster, Pennsylvania in two weeks.
*1 mapping - in drawing the term is used to denote the exact draftsmanship necessary to create a perfect likeness. Mapping is often done with the squaring technique (modern jargon - the grid) invented by the ancient Greeks for transferring a small drawing to a large wall as in a mural.
*2 flat (thin) versus fat – I am working in acrylics here, however, fat and thin are terms used to refer to heavy thick oil paint and thinner flat oil paint – fat because of all the oil in the thick paint, flat because of turpentine or other thinner added to the paint to flatten it out. Working in acrylics with fat and thin means using no water versus more water to thin the paint, and moving very fast with heavy gooey paint application so that colors will mix together with brushwork on the canvas before they harden.