Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Working In The Raw

I spent most of yesterday re-thinking, then re-drawing, a Dangerous Career Babe. Again. And again.
The fifteenth in the series of 24, I'd expected this one to be relatively easy. I'd begun with a clear idea of what I wanted. But nothing I'd envisioned worked as well as I'd expected. I'm still not sure why. Now, with the study almost finished – and the main figure already drawn onto a 2.10 metre by 1.60 metre timber board and some of the main outline work begun – I am struggling with its details, the small, seemingly insignificant elements that animate the figure and give it authenticity.
Time like these, I begin to hate the highly controlled, almost mechanical requirements of my hard-edged enamel paintings. More than once, over the past ten years, I have promised myself that I'd walk away from them. Although simple-looking, colourful and accessible, their precise black line-work demands careful plotting at the study stage followed by muscle-numbing control in execution. The areas of high gloss colour are, in reality, almost as flawless as the enameled body of a new car but are not sprayed but brushed, then painstakingly sanded back and brushed again, layer after layer.
Then there's the carcinogenic miasma of enamel fumes that irritates the skin and burns the eyes, nasal cavities and throat, even through long-sleeved overalls and the industrial-strength filters of a face mask. A full-body suit is almost impossible to work in and maintain precise control over a brush, so Jim, my senior assistant, and I end up throwing our health concerns to the wind and shedding all protection in order to paint more fluidly.

5 comments:

Nathe said...

Difficult Pleasures.....

MyHungryEye said...

I can commiserate having to give up safety for the sake of the craft. Having spent years and many long days in the "old school" chemical darkrooms dipping my hands in the developer, then fixer and inhaling the chemical smells. Even a tinting to finger tips due to tong refusal. Nothing beats uninhibited human touch and clean lines of sight when you are creating. Digital has made my life a bit sterile and safe and I miss getting dirty. Enjoy making your art and be as safe as you can. Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful artwork and your personal journeys.

capturedcastle said...

Why the number 24?

Many composers have made groups of 24 pieces of similar form, after J.S. Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier (one piece in each key, Major and minor, of the equal-temperament scale used in most Western art music, to demonstrate the practical applications of the scale).

Hazel Dooney said...

capturedcastle: I did recognise the significance of 12s and 24s in Bach's and even Shostakovich's repertoire but I would be dishonest if I said that it was relevant to these works. I originally wanted to do 26 (like a TV series) but after 12 of them, decided 24, two for every month of a year, was MORE than enough. Still, I might yet change my mind.

mondotrasho said...

Keep the windows open at least ;^).
~m