In February, I worked through a small number of designs and finally started painting. I’ve been struggling with this next collection big time. Thankfully the online oil painting and photography classes I spoke about in the last email have been super helpful and have given me some good insights into how to approach my painting.
I’ve gone through and selected the artworks that felt most fitting with my theme. I’ve spoken about this a lot (too much?) but my next collection is inspired by The Aeneid, an ancient Roman epic poem written by Virgil in 19 BCE. Much of the book is a riff off The Iliad and The Odyssey, so you’ll see a lot of overlapping themes throughout this collection.
I scour the internet for high-quality images of masterworks from museum websites like The Met to The Uffizi. Another wealth of visual inspiration is the Christie’s auction house website. They catalog everything that they sell/have sold, and it’s a rare glimpse into the private collections that none of us would ever be able to see otherwise. The Google Arts & Culture app has been the newest addition to my resource of inspiration.
I'm also using images of pottery shards to create a more organic shape for my earrings. I take the image, trace it on my computer, and then stretch it to the size of the earring I want to create. This has been super fun and now I'm on the hunt for shapes that can become earring-able. This pottery shard is on display at The Met.
Next, I draw over the image of a masterwork with my Apple Pencil to create outlines for my paintings. This is helpful in that I can see what needs to be added or eliminated with the miniature. I do a lot of cropping of a masterwork to get the exact details I think are most important to 'tell my story,' or to relay the theme I want to get across. Then with those outlines, I place them into my earring shape to get a sense of what the earring will end up looking like. Here's an example:
I create my oil paintings on an 1/8" thick plywood and saw each earring shape by hand with my jeweler's saw. I transfer my outlines I drew on my iPad to the panel in a more traditional way. You remember graphite transfer paper? I use that and go over my computer-drawn lines to place the outline of the face on to my panel. Then I can finally paint. That's the point where I'm at right now. I've traced over and over and selected a number of artifacts, paintings and sculpture to recreate and now I have to get to work on them.
March will be a month of oil painting.
Here are some of the masterworks I'm drawing inspiration from for this collection.
I've selected these images as a way to tell a story, but to also create something recognizable. I was afraid that this collection was getting away from what I wanted with this body of work. At first I was aiming to retell The Aeneid in a collection, but now I'm going for creating a collection inspired by it. It makes the purpose more about imagery and less about explaining every little idea that comes to my head. Ultimately, this is what I wanted to create. I'm not sure if I'll use all of these images, but it's been really fun to pull masterworks from all over the world, from various time periods and cultures, and from different artistic realms to come up with a body of work.
That's all for March's forecast. Wishing you a wonderful month ahead.