Elizabeth and Mary

Last weekend I got to attend a workshop in Seattle with Katie Kendrick. Here are a few photos of the piece I started (and am still working on!).



Starting off with water-soluble graphite and charcoal on canvas. I don't normally start a painting with any recognizable imagery, it was fun to try one like this. Just sketching and lines loosely pulled from some photographs. Add water and let the drips and smearing begin!

It was a tight squeeze in this class and this is a big 36" x 36" canvas, apologies for the camera angles! At this point, I am just starting to add color and still layering with more charcoal and graphite. These two figures wanted to stay, so I am trying to keep it loose here and follow my intuition as it leads me around the piece.

The third photo on the right above is where I left off when the weekend was over. As you can see, I have gessoed and covered over most of the figure on the right. I was really having trouble finding her spirit...so many attempted layers and so much scraping off! Also, I have a new puzzle to solve here: normally I work with lots of heavy layers and across the whole painting. One thing we were practicing here was following the intuitive hits and working on areas as we felt called to them. The figure on the left: boom. She appears quickly, it was relatively easy to 'finish' her. The layers are thin and translucent and I don't want to cover her up. Now...how to recreate that on the other figure...without loads of thick layers...it's bending my brain (in a good way). One good thing I have learned through experience: don't expect to finish paintings while at a workshop. Less pressure, more focus on learning skills. So this is how the painting traveled home. 

When I started back to work, I got out my sandpaper. As I was working with the piece, the story emerged. This happens so often...in the middle of deconstruction...revelation! Now I know who I am working with. I have spent a big part of the week with this painting. This happens occasionally, I get obsessed with one painting and need to follow it through until it is finished. Meanwhile, all the other pieces are sitting around in my studio waiting for my attention. I know many artists have several pieces going at once and I was always taught to move between them to keep it fresh. I agree with this in theory, but when one grabs me like this, then we are together until the end!

The Gospel of Luke 1:46-55  Mary greets Elizabeth. "My soul glorifies the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God"

The Gospel of Luke 1:46-55  Mary greets Elizabeth. "My soul glorifies the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God"

Here is where the painting sits on this Friday afternoon. I know the story, I have the faces, now to figure out how to bring them home.