Wednesday, May 7, 2008

From Drawing to Painting

Well here it is folks! You may have seen the drawing at left from an earlier post that I did for a commissioned piece. I'm very happy with the final result! The completed piece measures 27" x 39". It only looks smaller in the photo because the drawing was only done on an 11"x13" sketch pad. In order to create a painting with the same proportions, a few hours of math becomes involved in the process. YES Math! When I want to duplicate a painting from a drawing it's important that I get the proportions right and very difficult to do with the naked eye. For many of us, the brain is unable to process the spacing and dimension of one line or object to another without adding it's two cents. Because of this, we create what we think we see instead of what is. No doubt there are artists who never do a single math equation to determine how long the boot foot should be compared to the length of the overall boot and do a fine job of creating appropriate proportions; perhaps they have an inate instinct to be able to do this accurately. But know that, any basic drawing class will teach you how to use a grid to establish proportion and we all know a grid is just another way of determining fractions or math! It is easier to accomplish the "no math" method when free painting which I do regularly. However in the case of replicating from a drawing where you want the finished piece to be as close to the original drawing as possible, you do the math.... It goes something like this: In the drawing, the space from the top of the boot to the edge of the page is 2.75" or 25% of the 11" height of the paper. My paintable canvas is 22" high so 25% of that is 5.5". This tells me that the boot has to sit that far from the top of the paintable canvas to look like the drawing. Etc... To prepare for the actual painting, I spent several hours figuring the equations that I would need to tell me the lengths of spaces and lines on the drawing so that I could as accurately as possible re-create the drawing on canvas. The unfortunate part of this process is that without a copy machine, the drawing that might have been framed as a pencil drawing now looks like a math problem or blue print for building something! I would take a photo and show it to you but my light pencil marks wouldn't reproduce well.
If someone had told me little more than a year ago that I would be doing this work and accomplishing these results, I would have definitely told them they were crazy! But it has become a passion for me to create these "hairlock paintings" and now that this piece is complete I will begin the body of work to get ready for the Audubon Art & Fine Craft Show in August in Maine.
The above piece will live in a house by a lake in North Carolina that sports a western theme and I hope it's owners will enjoy it for many years to come! I have yet to name this piece which I would like to do and include in the signature. Anyone have any suggestions?

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