"You can't hit a home run unless you step up to the plate." This was the advice from the card from the "Whack Pack" which I drew a few weeks ago when I was dithering about how to proceed on an idea for a painting I wanted to do. I was hoping to finish this new painting of a small disdainful Muffy cat in time for the Millicent Roger Museum's annual miniature show.
As usual, I was trying to know the end from the beginning and forgetting that often the answer comes while you are working on the painting. I came up with the idea of collaging a fictional news story behind Muffy, explaining why she looked so disgusted. I liked the idea, but I wasn't sure how to get the typewritten piece to put behind her and I worried that it might be too distracting from the main painting.
That advice was just what I needed to get moving instead of thinking. I wrote my story on the computer and then copied it onto a sheet of tracing paper. I ordered the picture frame I thought might work on line. I made several scale copies of Muffy's photo so I could see what size image would work best on a tiny 5"x 4" canvas. Finally, I got to the painting.
I made the right decision by doing a black and white underpainting of Muffy before I added the "news article" type. That helped so I could see the image as I added other layers of collage. I should have tested the tracing paper for buckling. It did get a bit bumpy when I put the collaging gel on it, but I decided to keep it anyway. While I was working, I remembered I had a piece of sheer green collaging paper that was just the color of Muffy's eyes. I added it over the whole image, hoping it would still go with the picture frame I had picked out. I had a moment when I thought I had ruined the whole thing, but I kept painting and I am very pleased with the result. It is different than I imagined, but I think it is better. Leaving room for the unexpected is a good idea.
Jeff's Corner: Paint first, ask questions later!