Unmasked: Changing the Destination

Paint My Photo runs a monthly challenge, always based on a theme, but with the proviso that the artwork submitted is based on a photo that has been uploaded to the site. This month things are a little different and the challenge is “The Mystique of the Mask” with lots of license to produce a mask from a photo ref or out of your own imagination.

For some inexplicable reason, I am drawn to this challenge. A “mask” is not a subject that I would not normally consider painting, so I am really surprised that it has intrigued me so much. The only conclusion that I have come to is that I am excited about the diversity of colours that one can use – basically anything goes! – and the fact that there’s so much scope for a looser/abstract interpretation……And no rules! [Oh dear! there’s that rebel in me again]

The colours that immediately came to mind are royal colours – rich blues and reds, purple and turquoise, gold and silver – so many to choose from. I decided to do this “project” properly – a pre-sketch; planned my colours; looked at composition options; drew up a tonal sketch; etc. But I didn’t want to get too bogged down and lose the spontaneity, so I confess that I abandoned the “plan” at rather an early stage.

I created a lovely first wash – with blues and purple, red and gold and orange, sprinkled in salt and bound it up in cling wrap – a combo-technique that Jean Haines so beautifully demonstrates and shares in her latest book and video.

The result was beautiful! Perfect.

And then I tried to add the mask onto this gorgeous backdrop of colour. Not at all how I had seen it in my mind. Awful. Disaster. Aaargh! In the bin!

So I started again, this time with a little less enthusiasm and with far more caution and trepidation. I retreated into fewer colours, almost as if being less enthusiastic and might result in less disappointment if things did not go according to plan.

Even so – after Indigo, Winsor Red and Turquoise (and maybe Diox Violet) had met and mingled and engaged with salt and cling wrap, the result was fantastic.

It was at this point that I decided to change the destination.

This is no longer the backdrop for a Venetian mask. This IS the finished painting.

No changes, no additions. Just enchanting colour and texture.

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~ by tomorrowslices on August 15, 2012.

6 Responses to “Unmasked: Changing the Destination”

  1. I’m quite drawn to that challenge too and have an idea which I can see in my head but whether that will translate to paper is anyone’s guess! What gorgeous effects you’ve created here, I love those colours – it reminds me of an artists work whose name escapes me now – have you abandoned the mask now or will you give it another go?

    • Hi Sharon – no, I haven’t abandoned the mask yet – it still intrigues me, so I will broach it again this weekend. Let me know when you remember who the artist is 🙂 I can’t claim a lot of credit for this – the salt and the cling film did all the work!
      Looking forward to seeing your mask too….

  2. Great “U” turn Dawn and a lovely piece as well!! Am sure you don’t need me to tell you as you have Jean’s book but I suspect she would do a mix of positive and negative painting to hint at the mask without defining every single edge. She can take quite a while to build up an image using glaze after glaze, softening edges, leaving some hard… will look forward to seeing the finished piece!!

  3. […] back into ‘the other zone’ again. I think I am still wallowing in my disappointment with the mask and my relative success of my lion! Fishing Boat on Aldeburgh Beach (from a photo by Peter […]

  4. […] but no boats); a wintery mountain…….eventually some thoughts about heading back to my Venetian masque project, but worried that it will flop again. No painting. No progress. Dreaming in […]

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