Tuesday, September 1, 2015

looking back to move forward

Sunflower Play
11 x 14 inches
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky

This painting celebrates the cheerfulness of sunflowers accompanied by daisies and phlox in a brightly colored pitcher that graced my summertime table. I was inspired to enhance the liveliness of the blooms with a repeat blossom and leaf pattern dancing throughout the composition. I especially liked the light streaming in from behind the flowers as well as the unusual angle of the photo, with the pitcher and table in a slightly skewed perspective. That was my starting point for playing with this composition. I had previously sketched this same flower arrangement here. If you are interested in my process for this painting, keep reading. . .

*I will warn you now that this post is much longer than my usual postings and contains a lot of photos!*
Now for the history of the development of this painting. You may recall my big studio re-organization earlier this summer. This was when I unearthed my old box of stencil shapes. I have been waiting for the right opportunity and inspiration to put them to use again. The stencils are all hand made by me. The oldest stencils I made from scrapes of card stock and cardboard and are nearly 30 years old. At one point I began making stencils from frosted drafting film. You can see the layers of acrylic and oil paint that built up on those very oldest stencils.
Here is a detail of an oil painting from the mid-90s where I used a bird stencil. That bird shape was one of my favorites and showed up in several paintings. Sorry for the poor photo, the painting now lives in our bedroom.
Now back to my current painting. I discovered that cosmetic sponges are the perfect tool for applying watercolor with a stencil. And in some places, I used a squirt from a water mister to soften the shape after paint was applied.
With watercolor paint the stenciled shapes maintain some transparency, which I found delightful compared to when I used acrylic or oil.
And glazing over a stenciled area adds depth to the color. 
Here is the finished painting again, where I am mining the past to move my art forward. And thank you for scrolling this far! My most recent purchase was for more drafting film, a new x-acto knife and erasers to make stamps. Did I not mention stamps? Yep, I used to make those too.


Jennifer Rose Phillip said...

So nice and bright :D Really interesting seeing stencils used with watercolour, never thought of doing that before, always just used spray paint :p

CrimsonLeaves said...

LOVE the pitcher and the whole composition just sings, Ann! One of my favorites to date as it is just so full of joy and life.

Celia Blanco said...

It is a burst of energy, gorgeous work!! I enjoyed reading about your process, thanks for sharing it!

Ellen Read said...

Ann, is this available for purchase?

Ann said...

Hi Ellen! I'm sorry, this piece sold right after I posted it last September.


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