Next Part of the Process
Once the statement for Tell Me A Story: Women In Art was complete (it was included in my last blog post), it was time to begin the actual work of art for the exhibition. Requirements: 1. Must be specifically created for this show, 2. Must be presented on an 18x24" gallery wrap canvas.
My thought was to create a painting in a style similar to the last two Basket Weaver paintings completed; Madame Butterfly and Guadalupe Arenas, Snake Weaver.
Guadalupe Arenas, Snake Weaver
48 x 48
If you follow my Facebook Artist's Page you have seen photos of the beginning and progress of the new painting.
Beginning of new painting
Additional progress on new painting
New painting with stylized basket designs used by Delores Patencio circling around her.
However, every time I stepped up to the easel I had a nagging thought that this painting just wasn't right. It wasn't the painting itself, it was the idea behind the painting. This is Delores Saneva Patencio, an historical, basket weaving member of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. She would be a perfect subject and one I have painted several times. Eventually I realized my problem was connected to the statement. The statement that will be exhibited with the painting talks about telling the story of the women, not one woman. This work needed several faces, not just one.
It was a break through that brought additional ideas. If I was to paint several faces, representing several different women, why not present them in book form? After all, this is telling a story, and stories are found in books. This required book making research.
Creasing 140 lb. cold press paper with a bone folder.
Punching holes to facilitate stitching the pages together.
Sewing the pages together with waxed thread.
I decided I would present eight faces, eight actual women who lived in the Coachella Valley and are known as basket weavers from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. I created one book of 8 pages, but before painting these pages thought I would paint on loose sheets and then perhaps create another book, with the painted papers, after the paintings were done. This so I could paint freely, not worrying about mistakes, and have the option of using one or another. After more research about basket weavers and hours of time in front of the computer to locate photographs, I selected the following seven women and painted them in large, rapid brush strokes: Ramona Lubo, Rosa Lugo, Guadalupe Arenas, Mary Kintano, Delores Saneva Patencio, Maria Los Angeles, Mercedes Nolasquez.
First a black and white palette with the thought of 'bringing the women out of the shadows'.
Then Raw Umber added into the palette,
Burnt Sienna added,
Burnt Umber introduced,
and finally Yellow Ochre was added.
For the cover sheet of the book I created a compilation of the women:
Back to the process of actually making a book out of the painted sheets of paper. This time I used a raffia type of material to sew the pages before gluing the spine and attaching snake skin as the binding. Both the raffia and snake symbolize materials and designs used by these basket weavers.
Now that the paintings were actually in book form, names of many noted Coachella Valley basket weavers were added to the cover, circling the head of the woman. Designs were added to her head scarf which symbolize those woven into some baskets.
As you can see, I also ripped the pages to obtain an undulating, wide, deckle edge which would allow the successive pages to peek out beneath the top page. With this book of faces in hand I had to address a very blank canvas and figure out how to attach the book and what to create behind the book. Stay tuned....
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