Monday, July 12, 2010

Untitled Buddha

One of my birthday gifts this year (Along with some new brushes) were two 15X19 deep edged canvases. I've never used a deep edged canvas before and it was also a smaller size than I prefer, but I saw this as a wonderful challenge. It was a way for me to do something completely different with my work purely because the sort of canvas being used put me out of my comfort zone.
But what to do?
Usually I get an idea and then go buy a suitable canvas for it. This means I've become a bit predictable. My Tarot Cards are on 24X36 inch canvases. They're meant to be consistent as they represent pieces of a deck. By default, when an idea has seized me, this becomes the canvas size I use if only because I usually have a blank one around.
So how to find inspiration for a canvas that sat looking at me, gazing at me with potential, wanting to be filled, but also pushing against everything I usually do?
Obviously I needed to do something equally different with the art that would adorn it. I needed to do something experimental, not so thoroughly thought out as a Tarot Card. It worked for my Blue and Green Buddha pieces, so why shouldn't I access that same sense of exploration with this?
I decided to use my Buddhist nature as my key influence. I'd also tap into some of the more experimental things I'd thought about but not necessarily done before and I went back to some of my old ideas that I had enjoyed but not repeated.
To begin there was a simple sketch...nothing major, just an idea of a tree, a hill and a figure. I applied implied texture to the sky and physical texture to the clouds by layering the paint. As it was I'd just received my plaster cast in the post (For mask making) and felt that the texture thing was working really well. I soaked several chunks of the plaster and built a gloriously bushy representation of the Bodhi tree leaves. Painting the hill with a course hogs hair brush produced some excellent grass, which I criss-crossed with small flowing streams. I left my meditating Buddha to the end, seating him in a red lotus flower that acts as a punctum for the entire piece.

Working on this has been an interesting journey. I have begun to look back on a lot of the work I did in school when I was just embarking on the learning journey of artwork. It's reminded me that we must never think we have mastered anything. There will always be room for growth as long as we remember not to hold on too tight to the way we've gotten comfortable doing things.
I couldn't think of anything to call it besides 'Untitled Buddha', which is also a change for me. Usually I find myself unable to choose from multiple good titles for a piece. So here it is, from me to you. For prints, posters or cards or to purchase the original ($275USD) visit my website.

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