The photos and information here are to describe one of my works in progress at this point. My working title for this piece is "Moonscape." My assistant, Misti, will come up with a better title, I'm sure.
This all started with just lying on the couch one night thinking about how I've notice so many people, especially women, build walls around themselves as both emotional and maybe even physical protection. As we mature and age we all build up fears and concerns that cause us to shut ourselves in to some extent. Some do this to the point of being almost unable to grow as they could and should. I've known many women that fit into that category. I've learned from them that they all wish they had someone to protect them, confide in, or just rely on with no fears.
From these thoughts I went to the studio, sat at the drawing board and came up with this initial sketch. The tree is to represent the protection the figure wishes she had. The rocks represent the walls she has built around herself, with the water and moon giving a feeling of calmness, making her feel at ease.
This sketch is about 6 x 9 inches.
From here I asked Misti to pose for the figure. We took about 50 photos of her and between us decided on one that best described the feeling I was looking for. This sketch is done with graphite pencils and at the final size. The painting will be 24 x 36 inches. This sketch is done on a sheet that will hold the completed drawing as it progresses.
From this sketch I filled in the rest of the drawing at the actual final size.
Misti pointed out and I agreed the rocks look more like shards of some sort of crystal so needed to be changed to more jagged rocks in the final painting.
The image below is on the actual canvas. I always add 3 or 4 coats of gesso to the pre-primed canvas to reduce the "tooth" of the fabric. When I'm painting figures I don't want to be distracted by the weave. I then tone the ground with some color, in this case burnt sienna. When this is dry I trace or draw the image on the canvas, and then rough color in for the main areas.
You can see I decided to move the main focus of tree and figure more to the center. The rocks are just roughed in and I'm now working on deciding how they should look. Many more hours to go on this one.