Saturday, January 3, 2009

Finding yourself

I had one of those eureka! moments watching Finding Neverland the other night. I often get inspired by particularly 'painterly' films, like The Piano, and Girl with a Pearl Earring. This is inspired by a still from Neverland, of lovely Kate Winslett. I got my sketchbook out as soon as the film ended, excited and impatient to capture the image with seemed to be a crystallisation of what I've been restlessly striving for.

I've been struggling with this concept I have for portraits of women - they've just been coming out crap. I think I was confused about what I wanted to achieve - I wanted 'feminine' and I painted 'girly'. I want to paint something which speaks about women as people - emotionally and psychologically different from men, but also I want to capture something of the human condition, in an unspoken narrative.

I've also been stuggling with my 'style', such as it isn't. I've had this rather unappealing image of myself as Derek Zoolander standing in front of a mirror, going "Who am I?"

I want to paint loosely, and then I get all uptight because I'm all excited about ideas, and forget to let it flow. The studies came out great, nice and loose, lots of energy and clean paint - and then when I try and transfer that to the real thing...well, not good. Maybe I shouldn't do studies, I never used to. Maybe all the energy is spent after I've painted it once. I have learnt a lot though, about colours and the type of space I want to create, so all is not lost.

Anyway, I'm really happy with this Kate Winslett painting, and I think it's opened the door to a lot more. Yay!

2 comments:

marybullock2 said...

Just came across your blog and really love the painting of Kate Winslett - good use of negative space and I really like the monochromatic tones. Also your comments about trying to be loose in a sketch but getting tighter when attempting a painting really hit home. I struggle with that too.

Mary
The Figurative Realm of Mary Bullock

Shelley Hocknell Zentner said...

Thankyou Mary, it's encouraging to get a response to my 'navel gazing'! I actually think I'm better off not going wild with colour for a while, I think it might help with my technique...we'll see.