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A new painting always brings a certain amount of excitement and fear. I have put a couple of days into the drawing and have begun putting in color. The animal is a little smaller than I usually work but in order to put in the amount of body I wanted I made the animal a bit small. I may consider this a study and redo it in a larger scale. The idea would work better larger.
Working on a larger scale
I have spent a few more hours on it and I think I will go ahead and try it on a larger scale. I think it needs to have more size to fully get a feel for what I am trying to say. I am not looking forward to recreating the image but the drawing part should go faster since all the decisions on what I want, have been made.
So I actually put in several weeks on the tiger and just got bored with it. I set it aside in the back room and left it, waiting to build up the courage to throw it away. I came close several times, but continued to hang onto it because there was something about the piece that kept calling me.
Often over the many months I would stop for a few minutes and look at it, trying to figure out what it was about it that wasn't working. I'd think to myself, I really just need to toss it. Hanging onto old or sub-par artwork drags on the creative flow. Occasionally people would spy it in the backroom and comment on it or Ooh and Ahh. I would usually say something like “of course it looks good... it is sideways and in the dark.” And still I kept it.
So around December 1st I got a wild hair and pulled it out. I had just finished working on a tiny painting with minute details and was feeling the strong need to make big strokes of color and expansive gestures. This largely unfinished tiger painting seemed like the prime opportunity. After all I already considered it trash what did I have to loose.
After a couple of weeks of completely reworking nearly every inch of it and I am liking what I've got. I still have work to do. The lower right corner is driving me nuts. I'm trying to put in something that isn't too distracting. The piece has so much going on I feel it should have some quiet areas for the eye to rest. But it needs something there, I just can't put my finger on it. I'll take another try at it tomorrow.
So I think my problem is my reference photos. Or rather, that I am relying too heavily on the literal photographic reference they offer. I had made some minor changes to the tiger's positioning in the water as well as his physical shape. Also, this tiger was swimming in a zoo and there was a large concrete wall where I was standing with my camera. Because of this, the water did not flow backwards properly off the near side.
After some deliberation as how to research this, I decided to play in the bathtub. I created wakes and ripples and just watched how water moved. All in all, it really helped me sort out how to finish the water elements of this painting.
A camera is a must for me to collect the proper reference materials I need. But occasionally, I forget that I can't rely too heavily on what they show me. The camera can distort reality. It is important to be able to think for myself and to be truly observant.
Text and original graphics copyright © Mona Majorowicz, 2000-2017.