From the Studio

thoughts on art and process in action from a contemporary artist

new studio

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A lot has happened in the last week or so.  I am now in the second week of my second master’s degree, this one an MFA at the San Francisco Art Institute.

I got an incredible studio space for a second year and an unheard of one for a first year.  It’s one of the largest, featuring long walls to build large installation projects on and an actual opening window!  A coveted space.  Yesterday after a week of scheduled-juggling and moving in I popped the cherry.  It was really hard to start.  Really hard.  I had to sit down and take deep breaths- I’ve had much easier times convincing myself to plunge into water that still had ice floating on it.  Something about a new space where it was also other people’s business what I did and not just my own, with the added pressure of being given such a great space I felt compelled to instantly justify it.

I started simply, working through the ground on the pieta painting and gradually warming up and digging into it more.

This one has been a trick.  I constantly fight down my training to make a representational piece accurate.  For me this one should be out of proportion.  It’s unreal space. Yesterday’s distortions were a telephone line which is much more curved than it would be in reality, but it needed to bend towards the mother’s head for the composition.  The graffiti is floating a bit.  When I add other objects- crack pipes, bits of trash… some of them will float too.  I went back and took the detail out of the recumbent figure’s right foot.  The detail needs to fade as it moves from the triangle of her arms and face.  Little touches here and there.  Reality is getting sacrificed to the composition and a subtle dream-feeling and the extra presence of the figures.
Next week Debbie (the inspiration for “Deborah’s Story“) is coming to the studio to model the correct skin tone for the woman.  I only put the first thin layer over the under-painting (which had matched the man) when I realized I must have a live model for that.  Previously she was too pale, but I saw her after a trip to Italy in the summer and her color was exactly what I needed for this piece- less yellow, more reds.

She is the first life model that I have ever painted my own self-driven work from.  Normally I would have a hard time painting something like this with someone there, but we connect so well and she appreciates what I do enough and is such great company that I’m really looking forward to it.

Once I get the Mother figure in I think this painting will start to fly.  Everything revolves around her and I can’t tighten it without her more in place.

I’m so happy to have such a fine studio.  Classes are proving exciting and interesting too, but they are not mine alone so I’ll mostly leave them off of this I think.  I have most of the day to work tomorrow and I’m looking forward to it: painting and planing a new woven piece.

Written by Mary Corey March

September 6, 2012 at 12:02 pm

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