November 3, 2014

Falling for Studio Time

The last couple of months have been busy with things like travel and injuries (later...), and I realized it had been too long since I did any art work.  My usual mantra - my brain is blank.  Where do I start?  I never have any idea where to begin.  Sheesh, you'd think I'd have this figured out by now.  After my usual wasting time on Pinterest, I slammed the laptop shut and figured I needed to put something, anything, in my hands to get started.

A couple of months ago, a distant cousin gave me the most wonderful gift of a photograph of one of my great grandfathers, a man whose photo I have never before seen.  As an added bonus, I found that he had been a railroad conductor in Illinois and one of the photographs was of him in his uniform.  Given my son's obsession with trains as a young boy, this made it extra fun for me.  I thought it would be fun to create a personalized piece of art for the house using this photograph as a reference.  I accepted my painting skill limitations decades ago, so I figure this is a test of creativity, not necessarily painting skills.  I'm going to confess right off that I used Photoshop and bright light behind the canvas to help with the image.  If I'd drawn it freehand, Grandfather Carter would look more like a troll than a train conductor.

Are there steps that are supposed to be taken in a particular order when painting?  I have no idea.  Last month, I smooshed around what I thought to be pleasing colours for the first go 'round.  Today I painted the silhouette.  I'm thinking about adhering faint images of the railroad maps onto the background, but then I saw the lines cast by the setting sun on the canvas and liked that image.  Sigh.  I figure it's just a mess-around project at worst.  I'm getting my hands dirty and, hopefully, some artistic brain cells will slowly begin to stir and I'll move along to the next projects.   

The original photograph of Great Grandfather Grant Ulysses Carter

My poorly lit painting with Phase 1 started

While on vacation in Orlando two weeks ago, I took a terrible fall on what locals later told me they call "winter acorns."  That's code for deadly tree marbles.  I had tried dressing up like a big girl for a dinner date with my husband in an upscale restaurant, so I was wearing a dress and platforms (not huge and not wedges, so in my mind, not particularly dangerous).  We'd made it most of the way back to our hotel when I stepped on one of those stupid beasts and did quite the crash and burn.  My left knee made direct contact (and skid, ouch) with the pavement and I twisted my right ankle something fierce.  My husband helped me take off my shoes and hobble back to the room.  Mind you, this was after buying a 2-day pass to Universal Studios and our first visit ever to Orlando.  After a full day of begging for help from the hotel for first aid, help finding a wheelchair to get medical attention (my foot and ankle looked like a black and blue loaf of bread), I was a wreck.  After a doctor visit and x-rays there, then another round when we got back to CA, I was finally correctly diagnosed with not only a nasty sprain, but two hairline fractures in my right ankle.  Ouch, ouch, ouch.  I've never broken a bone or had to be on crutches.  This stinks.  But with the swelling down a lot, I figured I'm so limited in what I can do, I no longer have an excuse to avoid the studio.  Between rounds of elevating my food, I'll play in here and see if something wildly creative comes out of this.  At least I'm no longer Shrek-coloured from the knees down!  Now I'm a puffy, pale shade of Bart Simpson.  It could have been worse.