This is the story about how “The Fiery Redhead in Boots” emerged into a painting. Earlier this week, I decided to step away from the challenges and frustration funk of another painting and start a new, smaller one. I thought the change in canvas size and composition might be the spark I needed to get out of my funk. I had a new plan and that always gets my juices flowing!
So with the new plan in place I started with a monochromatic color wash and created depth and variation in value. That part seemed to go well and when I left the studio that evening, I felt like I was off to a good start. I had accomplished to two goals: get out of the funk and start a new piece.
Later that night, I played around with an image of the painting on PicMonkey using the editing tools and different background colors. Ultimately, I decided to paint the background a reddish orange color when I returned to the studio because I liked the contrast between the teals and reddy-orange.
I started working on her again the next day and in a short amount of time I knew I needed to add color to her body. I wasn’t 100% confident about the new direction I was going to be taking her, but I knew something had to change. I knew she needed more layers, colors and texture.
From there, she transformed into a blonde hair, dark-eyed girl with several color variations. However, I felt unsettled when I left the studio and I didn’t feel like I captured what I had intended to create. She looked like a depressed female version of the Incredible Hulk which was not the angle I was going for. Later that evening, I continued to look at the images of her on my phone and tried to figure out my next steps.
When Wednesday morning came, I had fresh eyes, a good night’s rest and clear head, so I headed to the studio. As I began working on her again, I figured out part of my problem. It was the lack of color variation between her arms and hair and the blue-green colors on her body, so I thought to myself why are you stuck on making her blonde? Why not make her hair and eyes a different color? Why not give her a more realistic skin tone? So I went for it!
And that’s when The Fiery Redhead in Boots started to emerge. I painted her eyes blue, darkened her hair, gave her skin flesh tones and added magenta highlights to her boots. Then I stopped. Not because I was frustrated or confused, but I could see the younger version of my mom staring at me. She told me to keep going and keep painting. I just smiled.
Even though I can’t call her on the telephone for advice or get a hug from her in person anymore, I know she still lives in me and with that said, The Fiery Redhead in Boots emerged. I believe I captured my mom’s youthful beauty, playfulness and sexy sass that truly embodied her.