I have been promising this post for a long bit - since I took this incredible workshop with Lynne Perrella and Anne Bagby in early May! Although my piece is not yet finished, given the time lapse, thought I'd better show what I have at least! The theme was Morocco. I chose to depict an inner courtyard, as I am familiar with these having grown up in New Mexico, which in select areas still reflects a combination of the indigenous pueblo people and the 15th century Spanish invaders, who had by then thoroughly absorbed the Moorish influence. For this piece this means the outside of the house will be very plain, even drab, made of mud brick and covered with the same mud. The plain style is not only simple (and to my eye very beautiful in itself), but also deflects any hint of the wealth of the family - which would be displayed within the hidden courtyard. You don't see the plain exterior here, but it is in my mind nonetheless, as I make the interior very lavish.
One of the things I love about Lynne is her sense of theater - she is a master storyteller, and loves to make her pieces dramatic. I always learn from her, as I do not generally think this way! When I created these two women, I had them facing each other - but she suggested putting them "at odds" - leaving it to the viewer to discover why. Perhaps they are in a harem, with a younger woman surpassing an established courtesan. Perhaps they are related and having a tiff. Or perhaps they are wisdom and yet-to-be wisdom.... you can come up with your own take!
Below, you can see I added stenciled script with silver acrylic - I wanted the sense of incantation, or repetitive chanting or prayer, but was pleasantly surprised by the energy this script provides as well!
I love the background of this piece. We started with gessoed Bristol, and then I added fluid acrylics with a sea sponge....which melded the colors while providing a lot of texture and depth....
Here is the front of the piece, which I see as an entrance from within the interior courtyard to the actual house...
You can also likely make out a guard figure..... or someone wishing to communicate with the women within, or ??? His headpiece is made of complicated paper using Anne Bagby's technique, as are the black & white stripes surrounding him. I also made the headdresses of the women using Anne's complicated paper technique - a spontaneous collage. The end results are fabulous - and it is so fun to just put stuff down willy-nilly and then figure out how to make it work!
Here is the back of the piece, painted again with the sea sponges and fluid acrylics, and stenciled with gold acrylic.
Here are some examples of Anne's complicated paper technique... which do not do justice to her work! They are largely made with paper stamped with her own designs (carved, not commercial), and various bits. For instance, the little black dots you can see on the beige below just left of center are from the bottom of a garden kneeling pad. The black and white pieces, and the red bits are from her carved stamps. All of this has been painted with Golden Asphaltum glaze, which adds a lovely vintage color to everything. Alas, Golden no longer makes this, but here are the ingredients and ratios from their website: 1 part Carbon Black, 2 parts Red Iron Oxide, and 2 parts Yellow Iron Oxide, to 30 parts Satin glaze.... or to your taste. To me, it looks something like a deep tea or tobacco infusion once applied.
I hope to finish the piece this summer - it needs some more stenciling and some work with the headdresses of the women to make them more integrated into the background. Thanks so much for stopping by, and if you've time, please do leave a comment! I always love hearing your thoughts!