A Comet's Tale

"Comet", oil on canvas, 30" x 36". Development, step by step, of one of my first in the "Sacred" series of paintings.

My drawing to understand the forms under the garment.

I then draw the garment over the figure. Keeping my mind thinking 3D so I can imagine the cloth flowing over the body’s forms.

I finish up the drawing of the garment making sure it lays on the form. This was the the process of Jacques Louis David and other classic painters and I find it helpful when I need to use my imagination.

This is a study I made to explore how the material would flow around her body. I tried to position her so she seemed slightly off balance to give the sense of motion: a delicate balance! I think I may take this study and make a second version of “Comet”.

Okay, here you can finally see the composition. This was a drawing I made by tracing over a previous drawing and emphasizing the rhythms and larger “energy” shapes of the design. 

A more detailed sketch of the landscape, inspired by the Italian Dolomites, that compliments the woman. 

 I transferred the drawing and using raw umber started on the under painting. 

I continued with the under painting making sure the areas to glazed with yellow were almost pure white.

 I glazed local color over my under painting. I find it’s better to go more saturated at first. One can always grey it down. At this point I wasn’t quite sure how saturated I wanted to go but I knew this was too much.

After The glazing I restated the highlights with pure white an let the painting dry. 

The final painting after reworking it with thicker paint and glazes. (Now I think I might want to rework it again but it’s in a gallery). Halley’s Comet was the brightest the day before and on my birthday and I could clearly see it from my front porch in Africa. Hale-Bopp comet was the brightest when my second son was born and I could look out my front window in Alaska and see it quite clearly. Comets mark time and make us realize the immensity of the universe. Their essence through time gets blown away until they glow now longer. Only their memory of their past glory will remain.

A detail of the final painting: I imagined the field of white flowers like stars on an endless sky. Have you ever seen white flowers at night and how the glow? 

Detail of the comet and the mountains inspired by my trip to the Dolomites. 

 One of ideas with this painting was to draw a comparison between the comet and the women...between the comet and life. 

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