Friday, January 22, 2016

Time To Put On A Show!

After some reflection, some depression, some self flagellation and a round of the typical New Years promises, I have decided that I need to step up my game. While I feel like I am improving as a painter, the subjects and compositions have gotten stale and safe.
In December I started setting up a still life but it just was not making me tingle. I had a discussion with my friend Joe Slucher. While looking at one of my struggling still life set ups, he mentioned that it seemed forced, "Did your mother let you play with your toys at the table?"

The rough idea was there, but it was obviously not working. His comment was like an creative wedgie for my brain. It got me thinking about the realism of the subject. I am painting these scenes of kids playing- really memories from my childhood. These scenes of the 'kid version of me' need to be more truthful. How do kids play? More specifically, how did I play, and how can I create good design out of that?
Kids play on the floor. Kids are messy, nasty creatures. If you have boys you can't have nice things.
I am still pretty immature like most artists I know, but I forgot what its like to play. What did 8 year old Richard play like? Oh, I know what you're thinking- "He played beautifully and brilliantly!"

Starting from scratch, I split this still life into two set ups. In order to do this, one of the issue I had was that the backdrop is not big enough and I'd like to have the option to work in a corner, which allows for various planes of value. Also, I needed an area where I could set up on the floor if needed. I had a small sheet of plywood on the walls that I could paint for back drops but it was not good enough. I had to go bigger.

So I built some walls in that spot. I thought about using drywall, but figured plywood would be more sturdy and could be moved to the other side of the room if I wanted.

I glued and screwed these flats and used joint compound on the seam. The side wall is just screwed so I can move it if I want. I added some old picture rail I found to the top and curtain rods on hooks so I can add fabric to any scene. I wanted a wood floor and found that you could buy sample boards of Pergo (fake wood flooring) for $5 a board. I added the base molding and had a faux corner of the room set up on which to assemble my scenes. One added feature I never thought of was that the back of the side wall now gave me a place to store my stretcher bars in an upright and organized fashion.

To the right I have another set up on top of my file cabinet that needed some work too. I decided to make a mini corner of the room even though this is a higher straight on view.
I built the small corner for the top a while ago and just needed to add base molding and a floor- all of which is loose and can be removed. The nice think is that later on I can repaint the walls a new color, paint the molding, change out the floor or even add carpet. 

I then was thinking it would be nice to have an outlet or light switch to add for more options.
I drilled out the rivets on an outlet and switch, then sanded them down till they were flat. I added some tape on the back to clean it up and I have flat set decorations.

They could be added to any scene. Here I even plugged an old cord- after cutting off the tines a bit.

I used some wax to stick the light switch to the wall in my other set up.
I am pretty excited about these new 'stages'. I look forward to working on the paintings for the next few weeks.
More about these paintings coming soon.