I am finally ready to announce my new series theme: Mermaids. This certainly isn’t a new concept, but it definitely has a huge fan-base (myself included). Yes, I was one of those little kids in the pool pretending I was a mermaid. “The Little Mermaid” was my absolute favorite Disney movie as a kid. I can’t say that Ariel is my favorite Disney Princess (I always say it is Ursula), but Ariel is a close second 😉 But in all seriousness, I feel that this theme gives me ample opportunity to play with patterns, depth, and all the beautiful colors the ocean holds, while continuing to challenge myself with figures and forms. I am hoping to push my abstract series into a new level of aesthetic for myself, while still holding true to my current style and brand.
How did this start?
I have 5 nieces. One year I painted an abstract for my niece Tonianne’s birthday. On my last visit, she showed me the work she did to decorate her room, and I felt like I could make something to match the room. After that, I put a bit of pressure on myself to complete 4 more paintings for each of the other girls. It is my way of giving them each something that will hopefully grow in value as they get older (if I am doing my job right).
Brittany is the eldest, so I needed to get started on something for her right away. I asked her about her favorite color, design, or theme. Her favorite color scheme is red & black, and she likes roses and mermaids. After several failures trying to get red & black to fit into my current style, I decided to focus on the other choices. I had just finished “Del Rey”, a portrait of Lana Del Rey, which featured abstract flowers in the background, and part of me did want to use a similar pattern for her painting for a quicker turn-around time. But the other mermaid-loving part of me decided to take this as a challenge to level-up on my skills. Plus, “Yay mermaids!”. This painting certainly became a challenge. The designing phase took quite a lot of time to figure out what I wanted to do, and don’t get me started on the painting phase. Actually, if you follow my instagram page, I am sure I complained about it enough on there. But I was very happy with the results, and wanted to get started on another one right away.
So why wait?
I had a few other designs waiting to be painted. They had been on the to-do list for about a year, so it didn’t make sense to me to go back to the designing phase for an entirely new series just yet. Plus, it was important to me to further challenge myself with this new project, so it would take time to plan out.
1. Brittany’s painting was much smaller than I normally would have gone for the amount of detail involved. I did this on purpose, since I would be giving it to her as a gift. Yes, I made a few prints for it that I plan to sell, but I was not going to be paid for the original work, so I didn’t feel like I should spend too much time on it. For my new series I want to GO LARGE! Yep, I will be breaking from my normal comfort zone of small – mid sized paintings. I am not sure how many large paintings I will make, but at the moment I have two 36×60 cradled wood panels in mind. I have never painted on wood panels before, so that will be new as well.
2. I want to start documenting my process better. Timelapses seem like the perfect way to do this, especially for the large scale paintings. My husband got me a gopro for Christmas and I am super thankful to him for it, as that is one less cost towards this very expensive project. I have already tested it out with good results, so I am looking forward to working with it on this project.
3. I need mermaids! Brittany’s painting was something I wasn’t trying to sell, so I could be a little more flexible with how I got my reference image. I chose a photo of Free-diver Mehgan Heaney-Grier hoping that this would fall into the famous face/fan art category for reference photos. For the new series, however, I am hoping to show it in a gallery or two, and have it for sale. Instead of going through the royalty-free stock images, or getting permission to use another photographer’s work, I decided to put my photographer connections to use. I teamed up with Rachel Sullivan Photography (been wanting to work with her again anyway) and have her shoot the reference images for the project. She already put out a call for models and got a way bigger response than we had anticipated. We are currently working through the emails to pick out our underwater models, and are planning on having the photoshoot in the spring when it warms up. I am so excited to be working with her again, and to see where this photoshoot goes.
4. This project was going to get expensive… which brings me to my next topic:
What do these paintings have to do with mermaids? Not much actually, but they are funding my mermaid project! My boss/super-awesome-friend recently bought these as a gift for his wife. He un-intentionally helped me afford to work on this project that has been brewing in my mind for about a year now. The Models, Photographer, Canvas/Panels, Paint, & Varnish adds up to be quite a hefty bill, and that is before I even get my art studio ready for large format painting (more on that later).
Long story short, support your favorite local artists, so they can make more art and support other local artists!
Want to hear more about this project?
I feel like this blog is a platform for me to go into more depth my process and projects. I don’t post too often on here, but I will be documenting the progress of this new series. If you want to follow along with this series and learn more about my art, you can subscribe to this blog (sign up is at the top right hand side of this post).