I’ve been visiting with a lot of artists since starting my series on artists for NolaVie. Not the theoretical stuff, more the “Huh? How’d you DO that?” kind of thing.
How do artists transfer images from, say, Google Images to canvas?
Most artists are uncomfortable telling you that stuff, myself included. It was a scandal when David Hockney wrote that 15th-century master artists had used lens and mirrors to copy things. Hell, they couldn’t draw any better than we could!
Copying. But here’s the thing about copying. If David Hockney and I stood at the same table, used the same paints, pencils, paper, everything and, as he made a stroke, I tried to copy that stroke, one would read real and the other would read pain of not doing your own art. Your own style and choices and movements of your hand and how hard you’re pressing and color choices and mostly whether you are in the zone or not, is you. Love it or hate it, it is you.
Think of being in a college art class. Everyone had the same still-life set up, they stood at different angles around the room, but groups of three would be roughly looking at the same thing from the same angle. And yet, nobody’s painting looked a thing like that of anyone else. It’s amazing and wonderful proof of our individuality (as if looking in a mirror wouldn’t do).
So this is my first pass at doing this painting called IceBergLandia. I consider it like a first draft when I write. Very little is where it should be; there are gaps in information that I have to look up, so they appear as big blank ovals on the page.
There are no blank ovals up there on IceBergLandia … yet. The great thing about painting is how bad things can look that get repaired on your next pass. And then you screw it up again. One wrong move and it looks lame.
So I’ll put up all the iterations here so you can see my progress and failure. Whoever writes the best, most complimentary comment wins the painting.
Carol Pulitzer is an award-winning writer and illustrator. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Food & Wine Magazine, and Country Living among others. She writes and illustrates short stories at her Little Theatre blog ( littletheatre1.com) and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. This series chronicles the artist’s process, through the way one of her paintings takes shape.