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Monday, June 24, 2013

Anatomy of a Painting.

art by Pamela Hunt Lee

From Beginning To End.

I received many comments about one of my recent paintings, The Pond.  Most of them came from my Artist's Facebook Page where I was posting photos of the painting as it progressed.  A recurring theme with the comments tended to be about the process and enjoying the process, as well as how different the subject matter from what I typically paint.  So I thought I would go back to the inception of this work....the Anatomy of this painting...

art by Pamela Hunt Lee
The Pond
Acrylic on Canvas

Because I have committed to an outdoor show this summer, something I never do..outdoors that is....I had to plan my set up.  I have begged and borrowed a 10x10 tent with sides which gives me six walls for exhibition purposes.  I sat down with pencil and paper to draw out the walls and virtually place the art on those walls.  Wanting to exhibit a variety of work to show my oeuvre I selected and decided I would devote one wall to florals.  Oops... I had only two available and wanted three on the wall. This became the first driving force to painting another floral.  

The size was dictated by the size of the other existing two paintings and how I visualized the wall. was to be a vertical canvas, 48"x30".  

I wanted the palette to be a bit different than that in the two other works, but I wanted it to be somewhat complementary.  

It seems best to show a variety of plant types inspired by different environments.  The existing paintings are tropical (Three Birds) 

Three Birds
36 x 36

and mountain (The Yin and Yang of Spring), 

The Yin and Yang of Spring
24 x 20

so something from a middle environment appealed to me, a water environment.  This past spring I was near a pond with lily pads and flowers that completely captivated me, just asking to be painted.  I took photos, sketched them like mad, but just never got to painting them. This was my opportunity! My other florals represent two flowers on each canvas so I wanted to compose the lilies with another water plant. Perhaps it was my history of living several years on a farm with canals and ponds that were filled with cat tails and the need for a vertical water plant that led me to the thought of adding these stately, uniquely different flowers to this pending composition.

I sketched several different options, selected the one I preferred and began the painting.

After sketching the design onto the canvas I painted in the background with big, loose swipes of the brush to create movement.

Next the tails, which are actually flowers, and the broad, spiked leaves found their way onto the canvas.  My work is stylized and with the florals somewhat fantasy, so the leaves bend, twist and intertwine to create additional movement.

Time for the lily pads!  At this point the painting began to take on a life of its own, a rather intuitive situation developed.  My brush began to stray from the sketch and time vanished.  I forgot to take the photos I normally snap.  But when I began the lily flowers I remembered the camera.

After completing the flowers and stepping back I realized I needed to add an additional pad on the right side of the composition and a few more of those broad, spiky cat tail leaves on the left. This was an intuitive addition.  Then a few corrections to the high and low lights and the painting was ready for signature and varnish.

art by Pamela Hunt Lee
The Pond
48 x30

If you would like to see this painting it will be shown in the Lake Tahoe/Truckee area at Lahontan's Marketplace on July 5th.  Because it is a private venue, let me know if you are interested in attending and I will arrange for your entrance.  

Hopefully this post gave you a bit of insight into this painting, why I chose the subject, palette, size, composition.... anatomy of a painting.

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