Several years ago a custom art client of mine mentioned that he was looking forward to seeing what “magic” I would come up with in the painting I was working on. Hmm, and yes, while there is an element of “magic” in art making, for me, the process is really about a combination of imagination, hard work, determination, and a system of organization I use to flesh out my ideas for a painting or drawing…My basic system to create artwork starts with creating a sketchbook of ideas in which I attach printouts of artist’s work that inspire me, and then I select images from Pinterest, Google images, books, or my personal photo collection, that illustrate my concept. Then I make a collage of these images in PhotoShop. After that, I start making three value drawings of the subject, in which I shade the subjects in values of black, gray and white, using pencils or soft pastels. My final step is to create a color “sketch” in watercolor or acrylic paints to select what color themes I want to incorporate in the work. With color, I try to think about what mood I want to imbibe the artwork with. Is it mysterious, happy, nostalgic, sad, angry or some other emotion that I want to communicate?
Case in point. I am now working on an art project for an art show I regularly participate in called, The Box Show, at the Artists’ Gallery in Frederick, MD. See the following link to learn more about this year’s box show: http://www.theartistsgalleryfrederick.com/copy-of-february-2017-associates-sh. It is a silent auction art show that is open to the Frederick, MD community, meaning that there is no jury to approve or reject the work. So I am back to the drawing board so to speak, and I am utilizing this very same strategy, starting with the sketchbook, looking for pictorial ideas on Google image searches and Pinterest, and yet, I am feeling stuck. Although I have an idea, I am not feeling excited about it, after starting to print out some photo references. And so I have decided to do something I usually don’t do, and that is to look at old sketches for projects that I never finished.
Today I returned to some sketches for a call for artists that was issued some years ago at the Carroll Art Center in Westminster, MD, called Wild Imaginings. And I felt excited about finishing the sketches I had started making several years ago. I collaged the ideas in Photoshop today. I felt not only excited, but I could also “see” how the art would look as a finished piece. In this artwork, I am illustrating the concept of how reading can unlock your imagination. I reference several sources here for inspiration, such as the sculpture by Bart Walter, “Wild Imaginings”, http://www.carrollcountytimes.com/multimedia/photogalleries/cct-landmarks-september-october-2014-pictures–034-photo.html and Emily Dickinson’s poem, There is no Frigate Like a Book, .https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/52199. I have attached some of my initial concept sketches for this piece. Stayed tuned for the continuing saga of my art process!