Thursday, June 23, 2011

"Goose Woman"

This work spent time as a "warm-up" painting in the studio. What that means, essentially, is that now and then it ended up on the easel those times when I wasn't quite ready to paint on any of the in-progress works. I usually have about two or three works that are in the "warm-up" category. These paintings get painted, scraped down, repainted, over-worked, under-worked, and generally pushed around until I'm either tired of them or something suddenly clicks and I end up with a "keeper" instead of an addition to the discard box.

Early on, I titled this "Goose Woman." Originally this title referred to the figure's ample thighs combined with a "pigeon-toe-like" stance. At that point, the birds were sandhill cranes. The scene was evening/moonlight because at the time I was painting plenty of night/moonlit landscapes, so this allowed me to test out colors or approaches without worrying about messing up one of the works in-progress. Warm-up paintings seldom make it to "finished work" status because of this process. But day before yesterday, "Goose Woman" clicked and so now it has a lovely pale yellow mat and awaits a frame.

I've found that "Goose Woman" is a difficult work to photograph. Outdoors in natural diffused light (north side of my studio) it takes on more blue than it actually is. Indoors it becomes very warm-toned with sepia and honey yellow tones. The photo above is as close as I can get to the actual color of the work. There is a slight glare visible in the upper left from the overhead lamp.

The detail photo at the right shows the overall tonal quality the painting takes on when placed under incandescent light. I think under this light it reminds me of some of Renoir's romantic female figurative works.
The golden highlights in the hair fall beyond the hair into the reeds and read as fireflies.
Below is the painting, with matting, on my framing table. I even like this work upside down! The painting is about 12 by 22 inches. Outside dimension of the mat is 19 by 29 inches.

So, now the question is: Do I keep this work in my "studio collection" of works that still speak to me at some level, or do I offer it for sale at Etsy? And if so, then what price to place on it? "Goose Woman" is truly a "one of a kind" among my studio works, so with nothing to compare it to (other than size) it is not as easily priced as other paintings are.
Readers, please comment with your thoughts. Thanks!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Fiberglass Bison now in Custer, South Dakota

A few weeks ago the bison was ready for the clear coat to seal it against the elements. Then the local auto paint shop said they couldn't do it. So I bought the acrylic varnish to brush on. I emailed the client in Custer, South Dakota, and as a result found out the bison had to be clear-coated with the automotive sealant and there was a shop in Custer that would do the job.

So, all set to drive the bison to Custer on Friday, May 27th (when I returned from my art residency in Pendleton, Oregon.) Upon returning to Lewistown that day, I learned that substantial portions of the roads I needed to travel were closed due to major flooding -- in fact, the town of Roundup, MT was under six feet of water from the Musselshell River. I phoned the client and it was agreed that I wait out the weather and the re-opening of at least one good route.
The sun finally prevailed on Tuesday, May 31st, so the bison was loaded into an 8 ft UHaul trailer, hitched to the truck and headed to Custer at 5:30 a.m. the next day (when it started to rain -- again.) Custer was reached in time to drop off the bison at the shop that would clear-coat the bison. Yea!

The photos posted here of the finished and clear-coated bison were taken at the Steele Collision shop (either in the spray booth or outside the shop.) The outdoor installation sites for all of the fiberglass bison are not expected to be ready until mid-June. Until then, the fiberglass "herd" will be in safe storage. Click on the photos to see a larger image.

 One side depicts prairie, some distant bison and native cone flowers (also known as Mexican Hat flowers.) Clouds are building into thunderheads and large thunderhead moves over the bison's shoulder hump and head.

I used a rich brown hue on the hooves to represent the deepest connection to the earth, followed by a reddish brown/sepia to signify the fertile soils. The yellowish (ochre) represents the vegetation. A slight hint of red beneath some of the horizon-touching rain curtain of the large thunderhead signifies fire started by the lighting of the passing storm

The flip side of the bison depicts essentially the same prairie landscape, except this scene shows a harvest operation underway in the distance instead of more bison. In the foreground is wheat -- prairie has been transformed from native plants to the mono-culture cropland

Overall, I'm pleased with how this turned out. It would have been great to have more time to create this. The short turn-around schedule was cut even shorter by a 10-day delay in shipping/arrival of the fiberglass bison plus another 7 days lost to prep and prime several areas that the manufacturer completely missed in the priming process.