The first banner is done!!! I unfurled it, all thirty feet, and brought it a couple blocks away to the Bellingham Ferry Terminal, where the Alaska Ferry docks every Friday. It's the tallest spot I could think of. I hung the banner over the balcony and still could only see 2/3rds of it at a time. But it looks good. The colors seem to work well together and it has the unity I desire.
It's interesting working on a piece when you can't see the whole thing at one time until it's done. Takes some faith, and maybe a bit of magic and mystery.Mostly faith I guess. The magic and mystery happen because of the faith.
Things are going well. Takes some time to feel out where the piece wants to go, so the first couple days of painting felt exploratory. Now I know where it wants to go, and where I want it to go, so we can work out some compromises together, the piece and I.
Tomorrow I will have to post you some pictures of the caterpillar and crysalis at the beginning of the piece. That part's all rolled up right now, stored under the frame.
Now it's time to reload the large silk pieces onto the 10 foot by 55 inch frame. This frame has rollers on each side, so I can roll the rest of the 30 feet of silk onto it and just work on 10 feet at a time. This way the piece will fit into my small attic studio.
I've already had both pieces of silk on this frame when I transfered the design, which was on large pieces of tracing paper, to the silk. I placed the tracing paper under the silk so could see the dark lines through the silk. I used a resist called gutta to trace the lines onto the silk.
If you look carefully at these two photos you can see the gutta lines on the white silk.
I had been working with the idea that the background color should be a simple solid gold, so that the butterflies would take center stage. But these two paintings will be 30 feet long by 55 inches wide, and a solid color over such a large area seems a waste of a large opportunity for excitement (or conversely a great opportunity for boredom!)
I chose a color pallet of gold, yellow-green, blue, purple and brick red and made some quick tests on scarf blanks. I can get a spring green, summer leaf green, olive green and dark values from this pallet. The outcome is that the main anchor color will be green rather than gold, with some areas of jewel-like colors but most colors will be mixed with gold which will dampen down the intensity of the color. The challenge will be to keep the background quiet enough to enhance the design, rather than take attention away. One key will be to change colors on a very large scale, every 3-10 feet.
Interested in painting? I work with oils, acrylics,watercolor, silk dye on silk, and stained glass. My work tends towards realism, a titch towards magic realism, and definitely towards the colorful and emotional.
Interested in public art? I work a lot with churches, as I believe that art can change the world. Churches at their best are venues for radical cultural change. My artistic goal in making art for churches is to help tie the rhythms, beauty and wisdom of sacred creation back into our humanly constructed sacred spaces.