A Horse Becomes a Scarf (Part 2)

A Horse Becomes a Scarf (Part 2)
ArabesquePainting

The original painting.

Well, here I am….again! Thanks for joining me on another excursion behind the scenes. If you missed the first episode of A Horse Becomes a Scarf, please check my post from February 18.

There is nothing quite like the creative process…..concepts and ideas take root, being realized in a flurry of quick sketches…pens, colored pencils and watercolors strewn everywhere as the inspiration solidifies. Finally, out of nowhere, a finished design!

 

ArabesqueDrawing

Full-size drawing.

The excitement builds in anticipation of starting to paint. But wait, first there is the mundane task of cutting, priming and painting a suitable panel on which to paint the full-size artwork. Watching paint dry…big fun! The finished panel is set on the easel and the design is transferred to the panel. I mentioned in an earlier post (Jan. 10, 2016) my scale drawings are not highly resolved works of art. They are a stepping stone, an indication of direction. Sometimes I draw directly on the panel or paper, interpreting as I go. Other times, especially with more involved compositions, I will make a transparency and project it onto the panel. This allows me to retain the scale and composition originally intended without the arduous use of manually drawn enlargement grids, a mundane task for which my temperament has no use! I typically work with vine charcoal as it is easy to erase with my hand or a chamois cloth. OK, that’s done. A quick spraying of the charcoal drawing with el cheapo hairspray (much less costly than artists’ fixative…and it smells like my grandma!) to “fix” the charcoal, wipe off the loose charcoal and now, finally, ready to paint. The palette is loaded with paint and I’m off. But which color to start with and where? Just pick one and GO! The first brushstroke is magical….the start of a visual adventure. The mixing and application of colors, the juxtaposition of shapes, contrasting and complimentary colors….I get excited just thinking about it! Watching the final artwork unfold is deeply satisfying. Deciding when you’re finished is a whole other story. Someone said a work of art is never finished, the artist just decides to stop. And that is true, for me anyway. There is always something more that could be done…a color changed, a shape moved or edited. It has the distinct possibility of becoming a never-ending mess! So, I decide it’s finished. I get to decide, right?

The next step is a trip to my photographer’s studio to shoot the finished artwork. Allan and Lisa Mueller own ALM Photo. Both are creative; accomplished behind the camera, and just a little zany (like me!). Lisa is also a fellow stained glass artist and shares the love of clean, bright color. The painting is photographed and edited, creating a digital file for printing. I’m certain Lisa gets a laugh watching and listening as Allan edits the image while I watch, not so patiently. You see, Allan is very deliberate as he works with the images. I, on the other hand, am in an artistic frenzy…knees pumping up and down, hands gesturing excitedly (it’s an Italian thing!) and mind whirling with ideas as the artwork is morphed on the screen. The artworks are my children…as if I don’t already have enough! Watching images develop on the monitor fills me with a pride not unlike watching one of my boys scoring in a Saturday morning soccer match. The final decisions are made, and now, with the photography and the editing out of the way we are finally ready to print.

 

ScarvesPrinting

Silks coming off of the printer.

My art files are taken to the print, cut and sew studio. The files are downloaded and checked for hue, tone and saturation accuracy. Test swatches are printed and processed next. Everything looks good and we are a GO! After printing, the silks are steamed, washed and pressed before being cut and sewn. The poly chiffons are printed, pressed and sewn. The results are stunning and the thrill of seeing a mere scribble on a scrap of paper transformed into a wearable work of art is almost overwhelming.

Finished scarf.

Finished scarf.

There is a pride that’s palpable in the creative process. The life of an artist is filled with ups and downs; from raging self-doubt and insecurity to complete narcissistic overload, rarely with any middle ground. C’est la vie, right?

So, there you have it. My chance meeting with a five and a half foot tall fiberglass horse inspired my first foray into fashion design. We all have our stories, our paths, our happenstances that shape not only our art or careers but the very fabric of our beings. Following our muse is necessary for a life fulfilled. Otherwise, we deny ourselves.

If you have a story or an inspiration to share, please leave a comment. I’d love to hear of your journey and so would our readers, for we’ve all experienced those “ah-ha” moments….some sad, some happy or funny and some are galvanizing, changing our perspective and maybe even our lives.

Thanks, once again, for humoring my ramblings.

Charles

I need to get off the computer and go paint something, anything!

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