This past week I dropped my latest painting, Plugged In, off at the Kennedy-Douglas Center for the Arts in Florence, AL for this year’s Mostly Blues exhibit. This is my most favorite exhibit to be a part of because it’s centered around the theme of music, which is a source of great inspiration for me. Music, among other things, just has a way of speaking to your soul. Which is why I’ve always got music playing in the background when I’m creating artwork. It keeps me focused and pumped about what I’m working on. Also, if I’m really feeling what I’m creating, you might find me busting out a few dance moves in-between brush strokes. Badly executed, but still…
For those of you who are not familiar with this exhibit, here’s a little history. I live in an area known as The Shoals or Quad Cities, which is composed of four neighboring cities, Florence, Sheffield, Tuscumbia and probably the most well-known, Muscle Shoals. It’s not a huge area like Birmingham or Huntsville, but it’s not tiny either. To me, it’s got the best of both worlds. You get the conveniences, entertainment, and shopping that big cities have to offer, but if you want to get away from it all, all you have to do is drive down the road a little piece to find yourself in a beautiful country setting. There you can recharge your batteries by going fishing, hiking, swimming in the Tennessee River, or just sitting back and enjoying the quiet solitude only the country can offer.
If you haven’t been to this area, it really should be on your must-see list, and while you’re at it, why not visit during the W. C. Handy Music Festival? Once a year the Shoals is filled with music to celebrate the Florence native, William Christopher Handy, a.k.a. “The Father of Blues”. Day and night, wherever you go there is a band set up somewhere nearby filling the air with music. It just brings a happy, fun vibe to everything which is sure to put a little spring in your step and smile on your face.
Anyway, as a tribute to W. C. Handy and our connection to the music world (Fame studios anyone?), the Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts has an annual exhibit, Mostly Blues, which, as stated above, is all about music. So after you’ve enjoyed some of the fabulous music, possibly right across the street at Wilson Park, be sure to swing by and see the exhibit. It’s sure not to disappoint.
Well, now that you have a little history on the exhibit and festival, let’s get back to the painting, shall we? “Plugged In” is a 20x30-inch mixed-media painting. This piece is a marriage of the abstract paintings I’ve been working on recently and my signature style. I think the end result turned out rather lovely too.
For the background, I wanted it to have a lot of movement. For the viewer to feel like they were seeing the music flowing around them, which is much like how I feel when I have my headphones on and my eyes closed. To create this effect, I decided to do a poured paint technique. This is such a fun painting technique. One of which will have a whole blog post dedicated to it in the near future so keep a look out ya’ll!
After the background had dried, I was able to paint my figure. That’s the only downside to a poured painting. If you plan on adding other elements, you have to wait for this part to dry. If you move the canvas the paint will shift because it’s very fluid. So, once you have it the way you want it, you have to leave it be until it dries, which usually takes overnight.
Once the painting part was complete, it was time for hair. This was probably the most tedious part, but I love the effect doll hair creates. It gives it a more realistic look than any other type of hair technique I use. It’s a very tedious process though because it takes a lot of time to do, but the end result is so totally worth it in my opinion.
After her hairstyle was done, it was time to work on her outfit. I decided to layer a couple of different materials together to give her a unique and super cool outfit. Also, as a finishing touch, I found this lonely black fabric flower in one of my scrap boxes, so I added it to her collar. Since the collar is black too, it’s kind of a hidden effect that you don’t really notice until you get up close. Which I love to do when the opportunity presents itself. It’s just another little element that makes the piece special and will hopefully make the viewer smile when they happen upon this little gem.
To complete the painting, I added lots and lots of little music notes that I sculpted out of golden jewelry wire. I’ve been sculpting wire figures since college. Jewelry wire is easy to work with and you can manipulate it into all kinds of shapes, which I find totally cool and inspiring. One of these days I’m going to do a piece totally out of wire. Just wait and see!
Oh, I also added some silver cording to the headphones. Almost forgot about that part!
Usually, I don’t talk about the frames for the paintings, but this time I’m making an exception. I ran out of time to have a frame made at the frame shop, so my brother helped me out of this pickle by building one from some scrap wood at my granny and papa’s barn. Which made the frame pretty special to me.
I love that it was able to be made out of wood that my papa had stored away for some long forgotten project. Who knows, maybe it was for a picture frame which he used to make too.
Also, I love it because my brother built it. He’d never built a frame before, but he’s really awesome at figuring things out and building beautiful and useful things. A big huge thank you to him for his help. He totally got me out of a framing pickle. Thanks, bro!
Anyway, I hope ya’ll get to go see the exhibit this year. It will be up from July 3, 2017, thru August 3, 2017. It’s always composed of a lot of awesome artists. Also, be sure to enjoy some of the wonderful music too!
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