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. Anonymous9:53 AM

    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. Anonymous7:47 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. Anonymous11:57 PM

    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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