Walking is where ideas begin for me Living in a neighborhood with people who come from all over the world to make things in Detroit is a great source of inspiration to me. When I'm walking in my neighborhood I see things that I would never see on a bike or in a car. For instance, I love the contrast of different cultures expressed in people's yards and homes. Often I just walk the city, camera in hand, to document the interesting bits. Later in the studio is where I will sort it all out and attempt to tell a story.
|Photo resource - commercial alley|
Back in the studio
When I bring new images back to the studio and begin the work of building an idea, my primary focus is on discovering a story to paint.
The images themselves suggest stories but I also consider big themes like 'communication' or 'relationships' because I want to do more than to document my environment, I want to explore the nature of humanity in paint. That last sentence is a bit heavy but it is also true. Human nature is what interests me and landscapes of human inhabited places allow me to explore my interests.
Once I settle on a story or theme, I begin. Beginning is the absolute most fun part of the painting for me, making the big broad strokes without persnickety detail and simply documenting shapes and values. At this stage, the painting has tremendous possibilities and that is exciting! .
As I work my way through the process I decide on what palette supports my story. I also create a hierarchy of detail based on importance to the theme and this is difficult because I find I want to paint details everywhere - I have to stop myself. I might also add elements from other photos or subtract parts of the main photo. Perhaps I will give a nod to art history and paint a Holbein sky.
But once all of the creative decisions have been made, only technical challenges remain and they seem to require only fortitude and optimism. Whatever illusion of a surface or space I am trying to create, I can usually get it if I just keep trying. I power through the painting at this point, gradually moving it from easel to floor as I get to finer and finer detail. Questions or comments? Contact me at laura macintyre