Work In Progress–“Hope Ascending”

Here in Northern Michigan winter is long. Looooonnnnnggggg. Like waiting in line at the DMV x 1000, long. By February it can start to feel like winter is something you wear on your body, like a scratchy sweater your great aunt made you, and you can’t take it off while she’s visiting no matter how much it itches. Winter is a physical reality here, but I know I have metaphorical winters no matter what season it is. Feeling like nothing is exciting, nothing feels fresh, feeling closed in, in a rut, passionless, directionless……BLAH. When I start to feel that “winter” feeling, I look desperately for hope.

When doing my latest series of trees and flowers, For the Beauty of the Earth, I asked my facebook followers what plant might look best contrasted against an abstract dark, dismal (for me “winter”) background. Someone said “a crocus…the first flower that peeks through the snow in early spring.” (Thanks, Lyndsay!) A symbol of hope breaking through….ascending up past the circumstance. A bright light when all around seems gray and depressing.

Here is a step by step of the work in progress I took with my iPhone (this is my disclaimer that pics are so-so quality, but serve my purposes here just fine). I still have a few finishing touches of adding detail to the flowers, and then it will be up in the gallery and on my Etsy shop.

 

Work In progress crocus abstract mixed media painting

Step one, draw the outline of the crocuses and apply masking fluid to save them from what I’m about to do next.

Work In progress crocus abstract mixed media painting

Fling paint around with reckless abandon. I made my blacks using the same blues and greens you might associate with spring. Sort of an inverse of spring.

Work In progress crocus abstract mixed media painting

More fully covered with the first layer. Which might not seem to interesting yet, but this process builds on layering.

Work In progress crocus abstract mixed media painting

More layers of drips, including hints of spring-like colors in the midst of the dreary shades of gray. Shout out to the super absorbent Sham-Wow cloth, super useful in this style of painting.

Work In progress crocus abstract mixed media painting

Different angle, and showing a swipe of paint I don’t really like and will later cover up.

Work In progress crocus abstract mixed media painting

Close up. You can see the masking fluid doing its job creating a resist.

Work In progress crocus abstract mixed media painting

Masking fluid removed. Starting in on the flowers with watercolor pencils. You can see I masked not only the flowers but an area of “snow” around them. Also note how the first few layers of paint fade when dry, which means I will be adding more washes, drips, and sprays to deepen the richness of color.

Work In progress crocus abstract mixed media painting

Close up of crocuses. Crocusi? I will be fine tuning the detail a little before listing. Added some shadow to the snow and darkened under it, for an almost floating/3D effect.

Work In progress crocus abstract mixed media painting

Close up of the layering effect of drips and some sprays (using a top secret artist tool called a “toothbrush.”

Work In progress crocus abstract mixed media painting

At an angle of the (mostly) finished piece. The swipe of paint I didn’t like has been obscured by more layering.

Work In progress crocus abstract mixed media painting

Straight on shot

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