Last year, I posted a Summer Update in which I shared two of my work-in-progress pieces. I had hoped to finish them that summer…needless to say, I did not. In fact, I hadn’t finished either of them by the time this summer rolled around. In a way, I think this was good: I have some new ideas and a new outlook with my art that I hadn’t fully developed last year. When I came home to see my incomplete green figure waiting for me, I knew I had a brand new vision for her.
This was the image I shared last summer. I remember I really liked the idea of her hair being made of flowers. I was also a big fan of how I used two flowers to sit where her eyes would be. However, I lost motivation, and she stayed in this unfinished state for nearly a year. Something I did not like was using oil paint for the flowers. I’m not the biggest fan of oil, so I wanted to push myself to try it in this mixed media style. Coming back to it now, it doesn’t fit what I want to achieve with my art. I’ve become very interested in using three-dimensional elements in my work, using a vast array of materials like jewelry chains and golden butterflies. I wanted to somehow transform this piece into something more, and I thought of the perfect way to do this.
The first thing I knew when I came home was that I wanted to paint a tree on this canvas. The second thing I knew was that I was going to try impasto. I’ve never painted in this style before, and I thought it would combine my goal last year with my goal this year: pushing myself in a more 3D way. Impasto involves using thick applications of paint to create texture on the canvas. I thought that this would help create the illusion of tree bark, and I’m really happy with how it came out. I used the same technique for the flower petals, which created what looks like creases and bends in the petal, which is what would happen in real life.
There was a lot of problem solving I needed to do for this piece, the biggest being covering the existing flowers. In several places, I was able to cover these with the tree branches and new flowers, however, in other places this was more difficult. I ended up adding some white gesso and going over these areas with the same green and yellow paints I used last year. My next challenge was an oversight: I had originally painted the branch by her neck to go behind her, and decided to add hair as an afterthought. However, this meant that the tree branch was going between her neck and hair! This was an easy fix, and a laugh for me. All in all, I really love how this piece turned out. I love that her face disappears in the tree branches, showing that she becomes fully immersed in her surroundings. I keep coming back to nature as my muse, and I know that there is a reason for that. Humans and nature are so intertwined, that it only makes sense for my green figure to blend into her background: she is one with nature.