Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Sweeny Peep, Awkward Phases and Salada v. Red Rose

Sweeny Peep
My stepdad and I watched Sweeny Todd on Sunday, so tonight at dinner I made him this little tribute to all that gore.  I realize that this is a flawed reenactment, as Sweeny Todd does not actually behead any of his victims, but I was under a little bit of time pressure.  

Here's where I left this piece yesterday:Here's where I got with it today:And here's a detail of a lurking pigeon:
This piece has definitely entered its compositional awkward phase.  This is a relief, because this painting/collage was feeling too easy and one-dimensional.  Now the narrative is beginning to take shape in a more interesting, textured way.  I always get to this point in a painting, where I feel like I've kind of wrecked it a little bit, or taken things (like magnolias) a bit too far, and I have to find some way to rescue the image.  Desperation seems to work for me, as I always make my favorite compositional choices during this resuscitation process.  To indulge in some fairly lame clichés:  when I (literally and figuratively) paint myself into a corner, I have to think outside the box for a way out.  

In other news, I found my favorite tea-staining formula!  Salada black tea is my preferred color--sort of a raw umber.  Red Rose English Breakfast was more of a burnt sienna-burnt umber mix, which I'm not as wild about.  I left these papers stacked and angled on top of each other overnight in a bath of the Salada black.  I like the mysterious, faded look to them.  It reminds me of old documents, old photographs, old maps.  By the way, Red Rose tea still comes with the little animal figurines I used to collect when I was a kid!  In this case, the proverbial "they" does still make 'em like they used to!


Debby said...

I think all your work is brilliant, but the decapitated peep is especially spectacular.

Meghan said...

I bought a box of red rose tea a while back, and much to my surprise, I got a little rabbit figurine! Grandma McCarthy used to collect them and give them to me :)