I've discovered the 4-6AM slot for getting more time in the studio. Today I started a piece that I'm making for my dad; it's an homage to my grandparents' chandelier. I'm generally no material girl, but I LOVE this object; it embodies years of love and generations of babies, standing on the formal dining room table, in awe of its shadows and light. My beloved Gram and Pa are gone, but the chandelier still hangs, still enchants.
I start each painting by sketching on plywood, usually with a very soft pencil. It begins with the examination of an object. This time, I held a chandelier crystal in my hand and turned it over and around, getting to know it, and making sloppy sketches and blind contour "notes" on the surface of the wood. I delighted in how much the sketches looked like fish when I turned the frame to get at sketching in another way. (I had tried to make my dad a painting of fish once, did loads of research on fish, fretted over the composition, and ended up giving him a painting of stones instead. Now the fish just show up...) I moved to photos of the chandelier and examined those, noticing how dusty the crystals are now, and remembering cleaning each one with my grandmother thirty years ago. I liked the perspective I found, as the crystals made the curve around the fixture; I got lost in the personality I saw in each one, each at a slightly different angle, looking a little like heads and torsos- a little like Baymax? Lastly, I sprayed the surface with water, painted it white, and left it to dry for the next session. The piece will probably get about 50 sessions before I consider it finished.