First Image: underpainting
Second Image: first glaze over underpainting.

The exhibit, Reflections of a Dancer, opens at Wings Conservatory in Chester on March 7th, 2009. The exhibit will raise funds for The Butterfly Project, supporting children’s cancer research.

The technique used in the color studies I have created for this exhibit is new to me. The images were taken from the beautiful photographs of Elayne Wishart whose work will also be shown in the exhibit along with the work of Deb Gichan and Ana Tatoris. Using the traditional technique of underpainting and glazing, I first used the computer to transform Elayne’s color photographs into black and white photographs. I then printed giclee prints and painting the initial underpainting (first image posted here) directly onto the print. I felt like a hack doing that. My goal was to play with color and glazes on figures as I did on landscapes last year. Taking the time to redraw the images of twelve paintings for a fund raising exhibit was not part of the plan, especially when the images themselves were not originally mine. Still, it worked against my grain to simply paint over someone else’s photographs. These paintings are not just inspired by Elayne’s work, they are, beneath the surface of paint, Elayne’s work. So be it. I have learned what I set out to learn by this experiment, that complementary colors in an underpainting does not always work as well with interior/figure work as with landscapes. Analagous colors glazed over the surfaces of walls, backgrounds and flesh worked a bit better for me.

However, struggling through the color studies, nuances of color were suggested that I would not have thought to experiment with and will lead to further studies. Heaven forbid I find myself at a dead end of exploration. I had planned for the orange underpainting in many of the studies (not shown here) to be obliterated by the glazes. Instead, I left a great deal of orange as it added energy to the work. The flesh tones often conflicted with the walls and had to be adjusted. I will choose the colors for the underpaintings differently the next time I work on figures in an interior.

All in all, it was a delightful experiment and I am grateful to Elayne for allowing me to use her work for this small series of color studies.

For Exhibit information visit www.chriscarterart.com and click on the link for schedule of events.

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