Stories and painting steps

February 17th, 2018
So, Stories. I always loved painting people. Not that I’m always a people person, but there’s something about people’s stories that really inspires my work. When I paint, I tend to include a person, or at least a figure in each painting. Somehow, adding a person brings a new layer, a story to the painting, something that a landscape, or a still life painting by itself couldn't. But again, this is just how I see my work.
I thought about this project for years. I listened to a girl tell me a story about herself, and thought about how amazing it would be to turn it into a painting, a painting that would tell the story, but wouldn’t reveal who the girl was. I left the idea alone for a few years, mainly because of my artistic inexperience. After a few exhibitions behind me, I figured it was time to stop waiting. 
Stories is a painting project made of 15 unique stories (mine included). Some are sad, some are happy, some are everyday moments, some are just plain weird. The idea is to create a painting out of each story, and turn the project into an exhibition. Each painting would have its short written story displayed, so viewers can read it if they want.
It will probably take me more than a year to finish it, since I have a very tight schedule of doing a painting a month, which I know will be quite a challenge. But I know I’m not giving up.
And now, for some latest painting steps!

1. Revelation

One of my best friends asked me to remake her a painting of my 13-year-old drawing. It was done during a very intensive fantasy-art obsessed phase during which I copied every artist I liked. I couldn’t think about saying no, even though it’s not really my style anymore. 
I divided the canvas into a grid, and created a very detailed sketch. The process had to be different than usual - stick to the details, try to make it as clean and neat as possible, but still add some of my own touches.
I decided to take a photo of every single painting step. Buut, as usual, I forgot.
First layer of the mermaid - done!
Aaand skipped a few painting steps.


The lighting is so different in this one. I added a few more details around the mermaid.


Almost done! Only the sky left. Turned out to be the hardest part. Of course I forgot to take photos of painting it.


Finished piece:

Overall, it turned out better then I expected. I had the original drawing in mind, but painting something 13 years later had to turn out differently. Some things were better, some things were worse (I have absolutely no patience for painting details anymore). But the girl who got the painting loved it even more than the original drawing, which is more than enough for me.


2. We need a resolution

This was quite a spur-of-the-moment thing. My friend and I talked about getting a painting as a gift, but her idea for the painting was kinda ridiculous (would take about a year to finish). Since we had about a month until said birthday, this painting just popped into my head. I knew I wanted it to be Aaliyah, I had this red background in my mind, but I also thought I'd do it in a simple, pop art style that wouldn't take too much time. Yeaaah.

The sketch. Most of time was spent on her face, and I tried to measure it as precise as possible.


This first layer was actually done in about an hour. "This is it, I'll just fix her face, cover the transparent areas, it'll be done in a week."


"This won't be easy at all."


Now her right hand was messed up, her face didn't really look like her, and it was just too red. I decided to add another color to the background (decided on a very flourescent pink).


I constructed the right hand from scratch, added the pink, made her look more like her, but it still wasn't done.


It was almost done, but something about her shoulder was bugging me. It had to be finished though, so I worked on it a bit more, and just called it done.


Finished painting:

I'm still not 100% happy with it, but that's just something I have to get used to. While the reciever of the gift was opening it, I realized it was a first for me - creating something I had no idea someone would like. 

The composition is something I find really intriguing, and something I want to experiment with more in the future, to cross the line of traditional portrait composition even more. But Stories will be an entirely different story :)