Thursday, March 02, 2006

I am working on a big commission. Mongo size. It is 6 ft. tall by 4 ft. wide and encompasses 5 generations of my client's family, over 100 photos.

I have scanned, digitally re-touched, sized, printed and cut out all the photos. As I worked the layout, I had to resize, reprint and cut everything out again because things kept changing. And changing. And changing. This process took weeks.

Then I researched backgrounds, gathering all sorts of related ephemera from various sources such as eBay, flea markets, my own collection. Stuff like maps of hometowns, college campuses. Pertinent sheet music, menus. I then scanned, sized and printed those items, using a mix of originals and copies.

I am working 2 canvasses side by side on tables. One is the background, the other the foreground. They take up a whole lot of studio space as you can see. The cats freely walk under them but I have to walk on top of my furniture to change the stereo, turn the lights on and off, etc. It is nuts.

After I put the background materials down, I moved that canvas to a vertical position so I could prepare for the painting. I put little sticky notes over parts of the composition that I want to be sure and "keep" as in NOT paint over them. I am happy with the background, so pleased I am inspired to do another similar work.

Did I mention I have a deadline? And that it's April 1st? No that's not a joke. Totally do-able. The painting, after all, is the fun part, what I live for.

So why am I paralyzed with fear!?!?!???????????

Probably because this is the most planned of any work I have ever done. With all the photos, it pretty much had to be that way out of necessity. And even though I am capable of being quite the planner girl in other venues, this goes somewhat against my artistic process. I am typically very intuitive. Usually I just start to paint and trust the process.

And I guess that's what I need to do here. Just start to paint already.

And trust the process.


  1. WOW! That's a big canvas. Keep us posted with updates of the work in progress. It's nice to see your process. You ROCK!

  2. HOLY CRAP....I am SO impressed. I can't wait to see the finished project. Make sure we get to see the "TA's finished" now that you have teased us with these photos.

  3. Karyl7:47 AM

    Mary Beth!

    What wonderful cat trampolines you've made!

    I think that you should make at least one videotape of you, moving from canvas to canvas. Your instincts will take over and this piece will be a drop-dead, knock-out crowd-pleaser for the family!

    Go! We'll bring food, if necessary!

  4. Mary Beth-

    This is facinating! I can't wait to see more of the work in progress! Amazing what an artist will go through to get to her vision! More, more!


  5. This is BIG... Even after hearing how you are working on it, I cannot imagine. I think that we'll have to come to do some watching. The number of photos is mind boggeling.


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