Tuesday, August 6, 2013

New Art: Once in a Blue Moon

Once in a Blue Moon, acrylic, 20x20"

  This is another piece based on a work from my collage-a-day project, “3SIXTY5” in 2010. (I must again offer apologies for the quality of the photo. I seem to be mostly a seat-of-the-pants photographer, with no time to set up tripods, etc.) The original was a digital collage, created on the Polyvore, made for one of those popular “challenge” sites, where a moderator gives a theme, in this case “Something Blue,” and people create pieces based on it. I participated in a number of these challenges during the course of 3SIXTY5, as an aid in coming up with a new idea for a collage every day. It was also a great way to meet creative people, though my goals for my art go way beyond the hobby level, gods willing. I doubt that I would’ve conceived this painting without having first made the digital collage, and that was composed based probably more on what images were available on Polyvore, than on any preconceived design. I am not normally drawn to fairy-tale themes!

Translating a small digital image into a full-scale painting is an interesting exercise. Some of the elements would not translate well to paint, such as the glittering digital stars and the ribbon of blue moon mojo streaming from the moon to the frog.  I was able to suggest these in the painting with (I hope) reasonable results. Other elements, such as the linear flourishes, I thought would not be as effective on a larger scale.
The diamond or harlequin pattern in the background is one of my favorite decorative motifs. It is always associated with the character of Arlecchino (“little Hercules”), the strutting, agile, but dim-witted acrobat from 16th century Italy’s Commedia dell’Arte. The roots go back much further (you can learn more than you ever wanted to know about Harlequin in an Australian designer’s BA thesis, here.) Regardless of the source, I love the energy and rhythm of the pattern, a checkerboard gone bonkers!

The princess in the original digital piece was taken from Leonardo’s Lady with an Ermine, but in my painted version the resemblance is mostly lost. If I could convincingly imitate da Vinci, I wouldn’t need a day job! I also used her image in one of my first collage works, posted in February 2010, here.

I think most relationships can be viewed as kissing the frog:  you plunge ahead and HOPE that the very attractive frog will turn out to be a prince. All too often, it’s the other way around—you start with a prince and end up with a frog. Maybe even a poisonous one, who expects you to change the way you treat your friends, so as to accommodate his froggy insecurities!—or is this getting too personal?? Yes, I have ended up with one or two frogs over the years, but I am certainly not waiting for my prince to come, thank you very much! Art, books, gardens, music, dear friends, interesting worlds to explore via the internet—life is a feast! So, I wish you Bon Appetit!

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