Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Inside My Studio - Teacups, Aprons, and Hoosiers

Palette table, oil paints, and reference pictures of teacups for an upcoming commission in my studio.

I've been hearing it from Corrie for awhile, "where's news about your own work?" Hmmm, I am working on my own work, but between my husband's new job and traveling responsibilities, caring for my son who is now verging on the fabulous age of two (enough said), and taking care of me (which I'm learning takes precedence over everything), I haven't had much of an opportunity to share what's going on in my own studio! So I'm going to write a few posts in the next week about commissions and pieces that I'm working on.

Towards the end of the summer, I booked three Christmas commissions and am continuing work on one that has been slowly progressing since the beginning of the year. No worries, the client keeps telling me "piano, piano". (She's Italian.) All of them deal with memories, involve food, or food preparation. However, the two I'm featuring today focus solely in the home domain and are related more to food prep and containing food, whereas the other two are about food.

The first commission is a gift from one of my adult students and her two sisters to their mom for Christmas. Her mom has a collection of prized teacups, and was, and still is an apron-wearer. My student actually stole her threadbare, everyday apron, and the lavender gingham and organza seen below, and shot several photos from a variety of angles of three selected teacups.  

We decided on a series of three panels, 10" x 10" each, on which to create an homage to the three teacups, somehow incorporating her aprons. I'm so glad with the selection of teacups that June made, and I found that the lavender and gingham worked so well to tie all three together. After several different sketches, I came up with the one below arranging the teacups in a more dynamic, asymmetrical composition, playing with different points of view, all featured on the organza apron. I still have some things to work out, which I will do once I start painting, but she was thrilled with the overall gist. I'll be starting this painting in November, as I'm still working on preliminary sketches of other commissions.

My client's mothers' apron (lavender gingham trim with organza body). Mom doesn't know I have it!




Selected composition for three-paneled painting featuring my client's mother's teacups and apron.

The second commission was begun back in February, but actually was implanted in my studio two and a half years ago when my client brought me her grandmother's sugar bowl in a Styrofoam box and pink gift bag to my grand opening celebration at my old location. She told me her idea then, "Sweet Memories" featuring the sugar bowl. Then stuff happened in her life, and mine, and she's just simply fantastic. I actually hadn't communicated much with her during 2009, and then I moved to 214 Spring and we got in touch again. 

After sitting down over a glass of wine, we came up with the start of a painting that is still evolving and now much closer to inception. Initially, the painting was to simply be the sugar bowl, but after seeing some of my larger works composing many aspects together, my client wanted to include the red Cosco stool I own, and her grandmother's apron. Well, the first round of sketches weren't happening, I was too tied to some of my previous paintings. Then, when we discussed some of the problems, my client suggested adding in her grandmother's Hoosier cabinet. I thought, well, that's just going to add in more complications. Well, it actually enabled me to shift my thinking and come up with a more interesting composition. 

The first sketch shows the Hoosier on the left, with the percolator on the shelf, the sugar bowl on the stool, and a tile floor extending out into a fantasy space with a manikin wearing her grandmother's apron. This goes back to a painting I did in college of my parents where space between the interior and exterior blends together. 

After meeting and reviewing this idea a couple of weeks ago, my client decided, and I think rightfully so, given the proportions of the canvas, that the apron is too much. Now we're moving towards no apron, a window in the background to open up the composition, flooding in light (much like her memories of her grandmother's kitchen), and moving the sugar bowl to a shelf over the window. I still need to work a bit more on the latest sketch before I present it to her, but this is where I'm at now. 

My client's stove top percolator and her Grandmother's sugar bowl on a shelf in my studio.

My client's grandmother's Hoosier cabinet.

2nd round of sketches incorporating the Hoosier, percolator, sugar bowl, and apron.

3rd round of sketches adding a window element and moving the sugar bowl to a shelf.

Catch me later this week in my studio with progress on my other two commissions - a visual homage to an eating tour in Italy and a tile design for installation in a client's kitchen / bar area.

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