Saturday, January 23, 2010

the flaming snake lady

About a month before Christmas, I went to Home Depot, and bought myself an 8X8 sheet of plywood. I then had the guy cut it into three pieces; two 2X2's and one 4X4. I then excitedly went and got myself a huge jug of gesso and, once home, covered all those boards with it. Viola! instant BIG painting surfaces. Buying canvas this large is very cost prohibitive, and I have been dreaming about putting some if my big ideas onto big spaces.
This one is a fave that I've had the idea for since spring of 2008. I got the idea primarily from a lyric, which, as it turns out,  I didn't hear quite right. (more on that in another post) No matter, because I like my version better, and the image just came to me.

Of course, I am encountering a myriad of - never painted this large, so it's difficult maneuvering myself around the piece as I'm painting (would help if I had a real easel...), two - the wood is not the most forgiving of grounds; paint skips, grain shows through, etc...but I've learned that I'll need to use more gesso and sand more vigilantly next time, and three - acrylic dries fast! even when you put additives in it. That creates all kinds of issues with blending colors, etc...More as it progresses, but here are some additional shots of flaming snake lady....(and that is not going to be the title of this piece...).

The color goddesses were present on Wednesday night when I did the initial color overlays...unfortunately, the camera gremlins will not allow me to get a shot with out the damned flash showing up in my photo!

This is an example of the wood grain showing through, and when I photographed this last night, it was annoying me. Now that it has had time to dry, I'm beginning to think that the grain may actually enhance the painting in some areas, like in these flames. 

So, I'm re-learning allot about painting in general and am excited to be painting this big. I'll keep on posting as the pieces progress. Have you ever created a work this large? What other issues are related to work this big?


  1. I love the wood grain Monica and the scale of this piece. Must be fun to work huge!
    Also, looking forward to the post about the mis-heard lyric & your subject!

  2. Funny how important prepwork is. But sometimes it's the 'happy accident' that actually adds to the overall effect of the art peice. I can't help but beat myself up over my artistic mistakes. Lately I have been walking away from a piece just to return later with a fresh eye. The fresh eye is not as critical! The mistake is now an important peice of the art.

  3. thanks Valerie! I will keep this one updated as it progresses and roll out the story of the lyric too.
    and Jeanine, yes, happy accidents abound...but honestly, I was so excited to get to painting this that my prep work was, ahh...less than adequate? glad it is working though. we'll see as it progresses... 'a work in progress' indeed!

  4. I love the colors- I think the grain definitely adds something to it. I'm sure its even better in person, unfortunately, the photos/(flash) can sometimes give false impressions.
    I can imagine how hard it must be to do something that large in acrylic (as it dries so fast) would you consider oil?

  5. I really have no experience with oils, but have considered them recently. They are the exact opposite of acrylics...take SOOOO long to dry that in my cramped painting quarters, I feel that might be an accident waiting to happen (in the form of a very smudged painting, and/or a very ruined rug...ughhhh).