Self-built miniature model for a painting!

2 Years ago I painted this painting from a live model over the summer:

'Katrina', Oil on Board

After the painting was done, I felt restless about the background, which I did not like at all.

I realized what this model and pose really remind me of are a solitary moment of an Arabian princess, as she’s getting dressed in private, standing in a tent, catching a glimpse of the desert sunset through a crack in the tent opening.
From the moment I thought of that idea, I was sold on it.

I searched online for reference material to be able to paint a tent around this lady but it didn’t work out, because tents are not usually lit with the same light that was used on this model, nor was the perspective or location of the items right.

Under advice of my instructor at Georgetown Atelier I drew out a thumbnail with the general value and composition I had in mind for the background. I then tried to use the photos I had to photoshop my way into a good reference but that did not work out at all, so I decided to just build the whole thing.

I spent hours shopping around at an arts and crafts store and thinking how to build a tent as I was looking around getting ideas from the materials I saw in the store.

How do you tell a story without talking so long? I feel like I’m stretching it on and on… so without further ado here is the setup:

Tent Setup

I sculpted a little figure and scaled every other item around her.
When building it I often glanced at the figurine from the point of view I viewed the real model when I painted her and moved objects around to determine their right location as well as their size before building them.

This project has been going on since, oh, I don’t know – long time for sure! The beginning of February at least, with lots of new problems to learn to solve and deal with, such as getting the perspective of the room right, determining where to place the eye level, making the reference look like my thumbnail as well as working out a desired composition by shifting the location of objects around.

This has been very time consuming. It reminds me of someone who once inquired about buying one of my artworks and then began inquiring how many hours I put into the artwork to determine a price.

You know, I don’t think he realized the severity of just how bad a path he chose for getting a bargain price. In most cases, and when the artist is very passionate about their art, it involves a whole lot of hours.

Some of those hours are spent acquiring general skills, some in working out a composition, which is a problem that can sometimes accompany an artist for years until it comes to a resolution, as well as the hours working and reworking the painting itself.

Granted, some paintings are all fluff, they come out nice and spontaneous over s short period of time, but the more involved projects are definitely, definitely not like that.

I’m happy to say the painting is finally coming along to my liking. I solved all the major problems I had with it and now it’s just a matter of painting everything and mending the already existing figure with the background.

I hope to finish it in the next week or two, no more. Yey! I must treat myself to extra nice ice cream when this project is done.

Stay tuned for an update when this baby gets shipped!

On another topic or topics… My education is coming close to its end. I will be graduating at June 21st from a 3 year full time program at Georgetown Atelier. Indeed!
My education really opened up the world of art to me in a way it never was before. I still have a few major projects ahead of me in the next 3 months.
I am always learning, and surprisingly, without realizing it, doing a lot of thinking and coming to conclusions about art as I go along.

For instance, one of the things I realized lately is just how important is to be able to unify elements in a painting and I’ve been doing some thinking of all the different ways this can be done. It had never occurred to me when I started, just important it can be to make a concise statement in painting, or in other words, how important it is NOT to over-describe certain things.
It can be surprisingly difficult to do just that much more than to render something to its finest detail. Starting out (much like many art students, I imagine), you think that the greatest achievement is in every small detail. But, I think it really takes years of practice to come to the realization that (Paraphrasing Andrew Loomis) “no part is as important as the whole”.

Lastly, if you like my work and would like to support me, please take a few moments to view my work for sale page and see if there’s something from the wide price range you might be interested in purchasing. This will definitely help tremendously.


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