You can follow me in my steps to create my first imagination-reference painting from the first concept/sketch to its final stages which will hopefully be at the end of the summer.
In the past I have been painting from my head and didn't use references with an unsatisfying result. This is my first time trying to work with references to achieve what I have in mind.
It all started one night as I was sitting at my desk, doing whatever - I don't remember what, when I had this image in my head and I had to put it down. I grabbed a pen and a sticky note and scribbled the following:
Then, I stored the little note in a drawer and didn't think about it much for several months and meanwhile got ideas for several other paintings.
Then, as my year at the Atelier (a form of a private, small art school) came close to an end I started thinking of my summer project and had a hard time choosing one idea out of the 5 I had. I decided to just go with the first one, which is this one.
A while ago, after I created the sketch, I started thinking and trying to develop the concept for the painting - the background and the story behind it. I didn't want just the figure in an empty space. The idea of a naked woman carelessly adjusting her high heel shoes was appealing to me as part of some context from real life, and I wanted to find the right setting to place her in. The first thing that came to my mind was a shopping area. She is going shopping, naked, but without much attention to the fact of being naked, but as if she were dressed.
Now, the thing is, I don't know WHY I was to paint that or why it has such a positive emotion for me, but it does. I feel that it communicates something good about the world. How else can someone go shopping naked and worry about nothing more than adjusting their shoe? It must mean that they like their body, they like life, they like the sense of moving and the sun and wind on their skin and can care for nothing except for that fun. In real life, this feeling would only be possible as part of a dream, because.. you'd get arrested, you'd get pointed at and so on and that's not fun at all. But the scene is not going to have people in her immediate environment. There will be people, but they will be further away in the shopping center. Not enough for any sort of interaction, just enough to make the shopping center look natural.
Now I had 2 problems to solve: References for the background and for the model. I have the pose in mind fairly well, but not the background.
so I started Googling for shopping plaza images to get some ideas of what I'd like to have, what would work.
I looked at several, each with its own pros and cons. Here are a few of those images:
Then I realized I am getting too overwhelmed by the list that started forming of what I like and didn't like about each one and so I made a document with a list of requirements from the background.
I like the first image the most for its distance, high brightness, clarity of it being a shopping center without too many details. I didn't like the street separating the viewer from the mall, I prefer something more accessible and inviting to the viewer like a parking lot.
I want the background to show blue sky so that it is clear it is daytime - morning probably.
Now my problems are getting a model, finding a place where a model can be photographed in broad daylight without anyone seeing, finding the precise shopping place I'd use as a reference (I can't use the painting above because it belongs to someone else).
The model will likely be me, though not accurately me, but some idealized/ approximated version. (I better not receive any cheesy remarks about this).
More on the list: deciding the canvas size, getting a canvas, paints, workable lightning conditions, blah blah, it's trivial.
I'm going to make myself an organized schedule so I don't end up drifting away and put in the required time. It's easy to go do other things while running into difficulties and I want to avoid that.
I am going to use all the knowledge and experience I've gathered in my year at Georgetown Atelier. I've done nothing but draw the whole year; no color, no painting. I don't have a lot of experience doing that, but I feel fairy ripe for the task anyway.
Stay tuned for part 2 as my painting and preparation process progresses.