THE ART PROCESS 01 // avalanche
Last week, I was in FedEx getting some paintings scanned. (Side note: super cheap option for getting slightly larger pieces scanned!) The FedEx guy asked me about the paintings and guessed that an abstract 9x12 inch painting had taken me a couple weeks.

At first I told him "No way! It just took a couple of hours!" but then I realized that before those couple of hours were a couple of weeks of frustrating run-up time full of discarded pieces.

This conversation made me think about how opaque the artistic process can be (even to myself!), and I decided to start sharing more of my step-by-step painting process, warts and all.

THE IDEA & SKETCHES

[1] DECEMBER 2013 - While hiking in Ecuador over winter break, I took a photograph of the volcano Cotopaxi shrouded in clouds. I loved the abstract nature of the image and decided to base a painting on it.

[2] JANUARY 6 - Using the photograph as a guide, I did some pencil sketches, ambitiously planning a series of four related paintings.

[3 & 4] JANUARY 7 - On pieces of canvas pad (great option for getting some cheap, gessoed canvas to try out painting!) I tested out paint colors and techniques. As you can see from 4, I tried a thickly painted palette knife technique, but settled on a flatter brush-stroke option.

THE UGLY INTERMEDIATE STAGES (blech!)
[1] JANUARY 12 - I purchased an 18x18" canvas with a thick edge (these are called "gallery" canvases and are especially great for hanging paintings unframed) and put down some nice, loose black strokes. I was actually pretty happy with the dynamic nature of this stage.

[2] JANUARY 13 - I "finished" the piece (ha!) with more detail in black and white and incorporating color. Stepping back (always the crucial test for a painting), I felt very meh about the painting...verging on a yuck.

[3] MID-FEBRUARY - I took a good month off from this guy and worked on a whole other bunch of pieces (most are up on my Etsy shop). When I came back, I painted over the piece in black and white simultaneously, producing a great "ugly mess" effect.

[4] MID-FEBRUARY - I decided the problem was the high contrast between black and white. In a sudden burst of energy, I painted over the black areas in thick gray paint.

GETTING TO THE FINAL PIECE
LAST WEEK - I ended up really liking the gray and ran with it, refining its edges and adding streaks of color. As you can see, I had a lot of trouble deciding which direction was "up" (problems of a square canvas?). I ended up settling on one direction, but sometimes I switch it around, just for fun...

TAH-DAH!
After some refinements and a few coats of varnish, I ended up being really happy with this guy! You can see more images of Avalanche or purchase the original on my Etsy shop.

Hopefully I can continue documenting my art process. I really enjoyed doing it and being able to look back on each stage. Do any of you have a good system for documenting your work process? How do you do it?

xo Diana

P.S. For those of you working on a larger scale, how do you get high-quality (but not prohibitively expensive) scans or photographs of your finished pieces? I'd love to make prints or iPhone cases available of this piece, but don't have a good enough image to use at the moment. Would really appreciate any tips!
comments powered by Disqus