Sometimes creating art can be a lot like completing a puzzle. I have the pieces, and it’s a matter of putting them all together.
Join me for a quick step-by-step journey, as I put the pieces together to form my latest pastel, “Cotton Whispers”:
The first piece to the puzzle begins in my mind: an inspiration; an experience; a mist of a final product. The next piece comes with my references: photographs taken on a family vacation, cotton bolls saved here and there.
The next step is the charcoal sketch:
My artist’s puzzle has been outlined, much like finding the corners and edges of a jigsaw puzzle, so you can more easily fill in the middle. I start with the sky, using rich aquas and golds.
With the top complete, I move to the next place, filling in the tree line on the horizon.
The next piece of the puzzle surprises me. As I fill in my cotton field, I am reminded of the Impressionist painter Seurat, famed for his pointillism.
I finish the distant cotton and the grass, and the puzzle is nearly complete.
Time for the flourish of finishing touches: the long-awaited “fun part.” I start with the big cotton bolls of the foreground.
Then I fill in the last blank space with relish, completing my small observer who is absorbing the scene. I always like to have a bit of life in my pieces.
With a flair of red signature, the puzzle is complete! It is a satisfying feeling to complete such a process, and end up with a piece of art that has taken on a life of its own. The colors are brighter, the contrast between light and dark greater and the cotton bolls have more movement than I expected. While I can always find imperfections and areas I’d like to adjust, I have to step away and feel a little bit of pride that, by putting the pieces together one step at a time, with careful thought and colorful abandon, I have created something that was not before.