Thursday, April 16, 2015

Colectomy Scar [UPDATED]

I honestly can't believe it's taken me this long to post this one.  I actually finished it about two weeks ago, and I have been ridiculously excited about the end result.

Basically, it's my belly.

My big, flabby, torn-up, post-surgical belly.  This piece was based off a photograph taken 2-3 days after I had 90% of my colon removed due to the cancerous tumor that had taken up residence therein.

I guess there are a couple reasons I took so long to post.

1) I have been busy.
2) I am a bad blogger.
3) This is kind of departure from some of the stuff I've been doing.  In my own honest opinion, this one of my favorite pieces I've ever done.  That being said, the subject matter? It's not exactly pretty.
4) I'm planning on entering it as a submission in a local art show and I feel like I'm jinxing myself if I reveal all too soon.

The local art gallery has a show coming up in the summer with the theme of 'Head to Toe' and is about, to quote the website:
...the strength and /or the fragility of the human form, whether it be psychological, mechanical, cultural or scientific.
This is the first piece I've painted strictly with a particular exhibit in mind. When I heard the topic, I knew I wanted to do something reflecting the whole cancer thing and my own battle.  My other idea was an abstract mixed-media piece incorporating all of the hospital parking stubs I collected over a year, but I think I may have thrown them out.

I found this image that was taken from my hospital bed with my iPad, and figured a big honkin' scar complete with multiple stainless steel staples did a pretty good job representing both strength and fragility.

I've had lousy luck with submissions so far, but I have a good feeling about this.

On to the technical stuff:

This was one of my first times making heavy use of glazes to create some subtle changes in skin tone.  I was pretty bruised and banged-up post-surgery, so I wanted to get some of the bruising along with the shading, so I used some fairly heavy amounts of glossy medium to create the glazes.  I found the glazing helpful for making the spots where the skin is being pulled by the staples look a little more natural.

Previous to the reading I did on glazes, I hit a point where I had to pretty much cover over everything I had done to that point and start again.  The second time around worked much better once I had a good idea of what I was doing.

While working on this, I picked up some retarder from Curry's, and man, that stuff is the shit for blending.  I love using it to just kind of dip my brush in when blending.

Just a fun thing:

As I was working on this, I kept noting in early stages that the blue of the nightgown against the skin tones gives an impression of a winding trail over desert hills, the blue of the nightgown acting as the sky.  The folds and patterns on the nightgown came across like some odd, twisted trees and stars.

UPDATE:  I got the word yesterday.  This piece will be on display at the Quest Art Gallery from September 4 to November 14, 2015. Yay! I'm so excited!