I am so into this process that I tried again on a larger scale. A couple of days ago I found a life drawing in an A3 sketchbook that I had drawn a few months ago. I didn’t much like it – in particular, the head seemed too small and I am never too happy with the way I draw feet! I have really liked some of the blue images painted and drawn by some other students on my course that I decided to paint the figure with cobalt blue acrylic paint. I was not sure where I wanted to go next with it and so left it for the time being. This morning, while on an internet diversion, I came across the poetry of Mary Szybist and read a poem of hers called Happy Ideas. The poem contains wonderful imagery including a reference to a “blue soul” so I knew immediately the direction that I wanted to take with my blue figure. I began by writing out the poem in full and then added excerpts from the poem that rang true for me and some of the imagery, too. It is not a finished image – I may add some text in dark blue, or stamping, to the orange space at bottom left, which seems a bit empty.
I would love to be in a class or group using a particular poem as a starting point. The poem would have to speak to everyone, of course. It would be fascinating to see how others might interpret a single poem through imagery.
The initial life drawing – the neck is too long, the head too small – overall odd!
Cobalt blue paint over the figure, adjusting the head size. Next, text was added (see above). The poem refers to a pair of blue velvet shoes and these were added spontaneously – not sure I like them – might re-draw them because they are a rather odd shape or might look for an interesting pair to add as a collage element. The poem is the starting point for the image but it can diverge and become something else. The poem has one life, the image another.
As a next step I used emulsion base (gesso-like) and brushed and rubbed this over the surface around the figure. The text still shows through in places. After it was dry, I added some “blue globes”, direct imagery from the poem and placed dots of acrylic paint in cadmium yellow pale, cadmium orange and deep yellow in the space around the figure and blended them thickly using the emulsion base. While the paint was still wet, I stamped into it and applied the wet stamp elsewhere in the image to create some texture around the figure without detracting from it. I repainted the head and tried to find a way to convey the sense of a face using the title of the poem. I may work further on this image but for now…