I had a painting kick over the summer. I started with a large frame on which I did an abstract painting. This was mostly a gateway. Afterwards I wanted to do something bigger and had my mind set on a jellyfish, in particular basing it on a photograph I took of a jellyfish in an aquarium years ago. Okay, actually, I took about 50 photos of the jellyfish because I found them hypnotizing, but there was one in particular I was eager to translate into a painting. So I made another, larger frame. And then I started painting.
It was slow. The blue background didn’t go on evenly, so I had to go over it. Then I sketched out the jellyfish in chalk. The chalk didn’t come off as well as I suspected. I just started painting. It was terrifying. I would paint for a couple hours each weekend. The head of the jellyfish came out well. I was invigorated. Then the tendrils were too wobbly. Then the tail was strange, difficult, I started to diverge from the photograph and make it up. At some point I couldn’t figure out how to make it better so I stopped.
It was frustrating and not nearly as good as I wanted it to be, but ultimately it was exciting and fun and nice. It was, however, a huge commitment. Which I did again.
This time I made a smaller frame. 3’x3′, instead of 3’x6′. I wanted to get closer to the jellyfish. I selected another image from my 50+ library of jellyfish shots. This time I found the head of the jellyfish incredibly difficult. The shape wasn’t right, I couldn’t figure out the shading or texture. I left it unfinished and moved onto the tendrils and tentacles which started out wonderfully and then became, again, strange, difficult. Eventually I found a technique that created the kind of stark texture I wanted. Yet it did not solve my problems with the head. I then shaded the head in one way, which was not quite right, so I did it again. Eventually the head was nice and the tail was nice but they did not match. I didn’t know how to fix this. So I stopped.
Again I found it wonderful and frustrating and not quite what I wanted but definitely better than my last. I have no plans for any painting in the near future. However, I found painting similar to drawing: incredibly focusing and rewarding.
I made the second painting as part of the Float Artists Program 2016. Float is Floatation Therapy business; they gave me three free floatation sessions in exchange for a float-inspired piece of art.