Since these creatures appear first in my imagination, I often love to toy with the idea that I create them into existence. Here is the story of Shapeshifter, and some tips to help with the painting process. I am not offering a formula on how to do this exact thing, I am only documenting how it unfolded naturally. Enjoy!
March 2014, I see a story and beautiful imagery. There is no plot, or names really, its only a snapshot.
Let the process commence! Take further action by making a GIANT version of this idea. I stretch the canvas using these tools: Cotton duck canvas, 36" x 52" stretcher bars, canvas pliers, staple gun, white acrylic gesso.
April 2014, new leaves unfurl giving my ideas fresh life.
I knew I had until December to paint this thing, and appropriately anticipated Winter Solstice in my subject matter. I applied many layers of Black and Phthalo Blue Acrylic, covering the entire painting. Then drew directly on the canvas using white pencil.
Soon it will be warm outside and I'll be under a dark sky with the moon glowing bright.
This is now a thin layer of oil, and I really love my wide hog bristle brushes for this step in the painting. The landscape is roughly developed using contrasting colors to block out shapes and give depth. I am starting to see what lives here...
Truly night provides the greatest fantastical lense.
This is always a bit spooky and exciting for me, as many of my creatures appear white before I color over them. This is my experience with shaping its body using monochromatic schemes.
May 2014. I flew through fluffy clouds in a single engine plane, and fell in love with them AGAIN.
Well, here they are slowly developing in the sky. I develop the picture even more using blues, purples and greens to appear as they would in a night time situation. The moon casts light in one direction, and the other light source comes from the glowing seed.
June and July, more people are entering my world, and the river time is in prime.
I like to work very loosely as I develop layers. This is a huge painting after all! And although I know I am a detail freak, I still have to force myself to stand back and concentrate on using larger lines of color to define and create 3 dimension.
September 2014. The praying mantis graces the surface of my canvas and beckons me to strike a the right moment.
It can be hard after 4 months of an intimate relationship with your painting to find fresh inspiration. But with a little wonderment and perseverance, you always find exciting new life.
I have triple developed this painting by locking into a technique, or formula. All the blues and dark and light values are congruent and the brightest detail layers give an extreme amount of depth and shimmer.
I have a finished lovely new friend and other world to explore. I am the little beetle observing the event as best as I can--being a mere bug.
My art reception was a dream come true; that is after working myself nearly crazy to the very last detail. Life is all about pushing the limits, and I am grateful to prove it to myself. It has been such a painstaking and beautiful process. And the work is ongoing, as I am to share these images in many other forms such as the new and exciting fine print.
As a human, I had to endure adapting to a difficult transition in my personal life and was suffering from insomnia. I imagined hanging original night-time oil paintings around my bed featuring dreamy creatures and mysterious plants to lull myself to sleep.
I have 8 other paintings that developed alongside Shapeshifter. Keepin' it weird! Thanks everyone!