Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Back To My Roots

As I did last month, I am participating in an online auction on Facebook and this month's prompt was "Mad Queen". Of course, being that I am working on my Queen of Hearts, that seems to slide right into that nicely, but that isn't actually the case. My Queen of Hearts is for my Alice series, and it's also a large canvas (meaning it's going to take a while.) Instead, I had several ideas, and I thought to play them out in watercolor.

I had her all sketched out (after I added in some mushrooms to balance out the composition), and I decided to mask her (good decision) and then used my old bottle of masking instead of my new one (really bad decision.) I ended up with a background just the way I wanted, with a nice red glow around my queen:

Unfortunately, it stripped my paper. If you haven't done watercolor on professional paper before, there is a sort of surface that helps the paint glide along. If you "scrub" you can ruin this and get a rough surface that basically turns your paper into a sponge in all the wrong places. Well, my old masking did that to every surface it was on.


The thing was, even though it had stripped that thin surface, the paper itself was still fine. It didn't rip, or even thin out the paper. No, I just ruined my surface. But I didn't want to start over, because I liked where I was going with this. That's when I decided to work it like an acrylic painting instead of a watercolor (watercolor is like painting in reverse of acrylic.) I wasn't sure what I thought when I had the features down:

I was thinking... maybe.

Then I started laying in more, and put in iridescent paint highlights as I worked (I know, you're all shocked), which are lit up in the next photo, but it doesn't look like that all the time, and I added a snake after someone suggested it:

Then the question became all about the dress, as all women know. What color? I went for black, after all this was supposed to be a bit twisted, sad, and sinister... a bit mad.

Of course, as any girl knows you need to coordinate, and it turned out that much of any color on the mushrooms gave the whole composition the wrong feel. I knew red was too cheerful, so I tried green tops, and realized it was all wrong, and finally settled on black for that too:

Finally, I was in the last push and I finished her:

"Cracked" 9x12 inches, Acrylic (and watercolor) on 140lbs hot-pressed 100% cotton paper

I debated calling her cursed, because she kind of is, and went with Cracked instead. Her crown (which is golden and lights up) is a nest with a cracked egg in it. It seems fitting that my "mad queen" would then be "Cracked". She's a bit twisted, and wrong... which is exactly how I wanted her! I ended up loving her, and to think I almost tossed her instead!

The most interesting thing about this piece is that it's a sort of hybrid of my more traditional abstract style with my fairy tale style. I almost feel like this sort of hybrid painting is the missing link between the two. This is important because I have had to split my business with the two styles so I can continue to do both, but I'm wondering if the hybrid isn't more intriguing than either on their own.

Anyway, it's an avenue for me to explore. Something that satisfied both sides is a rare thing for me, and not something I'm willing to let go of. I've been absolutely flooded with ideas. More paintings I want to do, along this line but not. I've always been obsessed with the stars and the moon, but also the ocean. So, I imagine I'm coming into another theme I must follow, all the while working to finish my Alice series and exploring more fairytales as well.

I feel like I'm on a new adventure!


Jeri Landers said...

She's fabulous! I think the accidental stripping of the paper ( I HATE when that happens!) turned out to be a bit of luck after all. The fabric looks like velvet, you are so good with texture. I would continue with the hybrid, it seems you have stumbled upon something very unique.

Amalia K Aradea said...

Your hard work really paid off, Kyra, she's beautiful! And I especially adore those mushrooms!

Magic Love Crow said...

Keep going on this adventure! She is breath taking! I truly love her!!!