Tuesday, March 10, 2009

entertaining myself

This is what I did on the weekend. I've never photographed a painting in progress so the only people who get to see what I'm working on are those who stop by my house. That's a pretty rare event in itself, one that calls for the painting to be covered and the brushes rinsed while I make tea and conversation.

What you see here is the central image I'll be working from. It's been transferred to its sheet of watercolor paper and has already undergone some changes but the pencil lines are so fine as to not be discernible to a camera. I inked the original drawing so you can get an idea of my idea. It may not look like much right now but it took several days to get this far and will likely take weeks to complete.

If I weren't such a lazy person I could have drawn a picture of a great public works project that came to mind. How about if they built a moving sidewalk from Los Angeles to New York? Building it would certainly provide employment for a lot of people and I imagine it being powered by former corporate fat cats running inside large versions of hamster wheels. Travelers could stroll with their luggage for a mile or two or sit in those ubiquitous white plastic chairs waving to the people going the other way or for entertainment, throw their garbage at the guys in the wheels. It may be an idea whose time has come.. I wish.

(Any resemblance between the central figure and anyone you know may or may not be intentional.)


Seraphine said...

feeling like an idiot, because i don't know the difference between lions and tigers. lions have manes and tigers have stripes? i think that's it.
do you know what i like? your tiger (or is it a lion?) looks like she has tattoos. feline ink is sexy.
i know the difference between alligators and crocodiles too. one has a long-snout nose, the other has a rounded nose. but which is which?
no, you don't have to answer. i'm reminde don the answer all the time, and i still forget.
but i usually remember ink. funny, isn't it.

The Crow said...

Funny...I was just thinking I recognized the woman when I got to your line about "...may or may not be intentional."

linda said...

I about broke my neck to get over here when I saw on my blog list you had posted a painting in progress!!! and YES I know who this is! the likeness is perfect... and that tiger is really something too, the detail you have put into this drawing is really something! I just start throwing paint at the paper and you have already been working on this several weeks? I look forward to watching this progress so please don't stop posting it! How fun is that?!

speaking of fun, love your idea of the giant hamster cages filled with bankers that strollers can throw garbage at or just gawk at from their plastic chairs(you thought of just about everything)...hahaha...you must have some dream life!

also sounds like you have about as much company as I have! lol...

CDP said...

I saw that resemblance right away...not so much the features, but the pose and attitude!

Randal Graves said...

No, no one I would recognize. Except her, bien sûr.

You know, for such a outwardly mellow, artsy babe, you sure do have a venomously vindictive streak buried underneath all that creativity. Which is a compliment, by the way, Buddha be damned.

susan said...

sera - If either one was chasing you it likely wouldn't matter except for maybe wanting to know whether you were going to get eaten in Africa or India. I rather like feline ink too and tigers can have those lightning bolt lines and nobody complains.

the crow - Likenesses are a tricky business so it may be accidental too.

linda - I hope you didn't hurt yourself on the way over :-) I'm not so sure about the likeness but the gesture is there.. mild disdain, world weariness and just a soupcon of ennui was what I hoped to capture. The painting will be different but I promise to take its picture now and again during the process. (The drawing took a few days - it's the painting that will take weeks.)

You're right - not much company but a head full of ideas.. like you.

cdp - Yeah, it's all in the tude and have been well impressed with that.

randal - I was hoping she'd enjoy it. I'm at the beginning of a project about projection which I hope will have beautiful results and not necessarily just pretty ones.

Steve Emery said...

I opened this post and immediately thought of her - and then, as usual, my right brain swarmed over everything else looking at how the likeness was achieved when the details were not slavishly followed. Ingenious - intentional or not - that you captured so much of her complex personality in the 'tude, as you put it in the comment/reply above. And before reading your post I also thought how the tiger is like her temper - large, feline, powerful, at rest most of the time, but not to be trifled with. It can turn on its owner at times, as well...

I have to think more about the figure in the background. That did not create an immediate analog in my mind.

I am really looking forward to seeing this progress - it would be wonderful to see the order of your work, the way the things are built up and decided. Thanks very much for sharing it this way.

Liberality said...

Well I thought it was her right off the bat so you did a good job whether it was intentional or not.

Lover of Life said...

I love this picture. The woman has attitude. And your idea for the bankers is genius. I think they should have to toil in loincloths. No more $$$$ suits.

susan said...

steve - Okay, I'll admit the portrait was intentional as was the development of the original avatar I find so fascinating. My first thought was a gypsy fortune teller but the table and crystal ball only obscured what demanded to be shown, a body alert but grown languorous with the passage of time. The tiger's meant as a metaphor, as you suggested, but his place at her feet in the early outline was wrong. As a coequal being he demanded to share the space on her bed where he can serve as guard and playmate.

The character in the background was a space saver only, as I'm still in the process of balancing the original two in the field of the design. I should have erased it but you'll just have to take my word that it will be an interesting tableau however it progresses. Like I said, I'm not used to working in public but you and Linda have increased my bravery in that regard.

liberality - I may make a small habit of this kind of thing so watch out :-)

lol - She's grown wise and beautiful with time's passage.. as do we all.

Once I read about the plan for high speed rail service between LA and Las Vegas, I couldn't help but think of ever more ludicrous possibilities.

Seraphine said...

as far as likenesses, there is a bit of the artist in every creation. intended or not.
art has its own dna.
it's part of the mystery.

Ben said...

I like where this picture is going. That is a great tiger, complementing the central figure. The Prunesqualor-like figure in the background shows promise too.

lindsaylobe said...

The drawing is excellent and I look forward to seeing it in living color!! - One in the presence of the magnificent tiger and its domesticated sister cat in the foreground?
Tigers are such magnificent creatures don’t you think and I am especially awed by the sheer size and majesty of the Siberian tigers- they are much larger than lions weighing in at a massive 250 kilograms- I love watching documentaries about them.
Best wishes

susan said...

sera - Ahh yes, signature pieces one and all.

ben - The tiger and the main character are a good match. Prunesqualor - not so much.

lindsay - The painting will be much more subtle and hopefully, luminous. Yes, tigers are my favorite too.

Grenouille said...

I wanted to add how much I like the tiger - the way you captured that odd almost dog like quality large tigers have - a slack jawed something that reminds me of mastiffs, Saint Bernards, etc. Some cats lean toward dog - and some dogs lean toward cat (foxes, for instance). Maybe that's why they don't get along... They're working too hard to accentuate their differences.

susan said...

grenouille - It's not often you step out into the world but I'm glad you came by.

I've always had a special place in my heart for the large predators. Their power in their own environment is totally unquestioned so they can afford that slack jawed demeanor.

Stay tuned.

Utah Savage said...

I can not tell you how honored I am. You have a distilled essence of my inner me. Outwardly I'm not so languorously lovely. But the bit of resting power makes me feel so good. Loosely coiled, alert and relaxed. And thank you for the iconic cigarette. I can't wait to watch.

Utah Savage said...

Actually I do think of myself as a large predator full and at rest.

susan said...

utah - In essence, we are our deeper projections. I'm anticipating the painting itself will show a quintessence of the powerful, non-apologetic feminine.

Steve Emery said...

I'm so glad Utah Savage came over and saw this.

Pagan Sphinx said...

At first I thought - "she looks familiar" and then the cigarette just gave it away. Excellent.

It's very interesting to have a glimpse of your process. I'm in awe of how you, Steve and Linda approach your work so differently, uniquely. This is a great blast. I have other friends who are artists but I rarely get to see their creations until they're finished.

All the love,

Fifi Flowers said...

NICE drawing!
Moving sidewalk from Los Angeles to NYC... WOW... how long do you think it would take to get there... I hope that it will be covered with clear plastic or glass and will have heating and cooling as necessary along the route... hmmmm interesting thought!
ENJOY your weekend!
Thanks for stopping by via Belette and Lily.

susan said...

steve - I'm glad too but I hope I didn't post it too soon as this could take a while.

pagan sphinx - As I told Steve I posted the drawing once I was fairly happy with it but it's still very much a design in process so it may take a while. I'm shy.. probably like your other friends who paint. In a way it's like trying to write something with someone reading over your shoulder as you search for just the right phrase.

fifi flowers - What a nice surprise to have a visit from you. You really didn't have to but I'm glad you like the drawing.

I kind of see the moving sidewalk with fashionable rest stops between sections.. and always with clothing and paraphernalia appropriate to the changing climate.

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah... that's you alright, even if it was unintentional. I like it. I can't wait to see the finished work. As for the LA to NY moving sidewalk, I wonder if it'll ever happen. Think of all those NIMBYists who'll piss and moan about their property values being lowered.

susan said...

spartacus - Maybe it's an idea whose time has come. The backyarders might need some extra cash from lemonade and hot dog sales.