Tuesday, January 26, 2010

"Carousel Summer"
18x26 Oil On Stretched Linen

One of my favorite summer memories with my children are taking them to the Como Zoo Carousel. I remember how excited I was the first time taking my daughter when she was only one year old and sitting with her on the horse, she loved it! So, we'd get off, get another ticket and get back in line until she had enough. Not quite sure who was having more fun, her or me. . . Then my son came along and I'd take them both, as the years went by they graduated to me standing between both their horses holding onto the backs of their shirts, to "Mom, we can do it all by ourselves!" and me standing on the outskirts of the carousel taking pictures as they would come around. My daughter was always totally in to 'riding the horse' like a real cowgirl and my son was always looking off.
Needless to say, this painting is a special piece for me, I've had the idea (concept) in my mind for a long time now and it wasn't until recently that I've put that concept onto canvas. I think I knew what I wanted to paint but maybe wasn't quite ready to actually paint it. I know that a good concept is just not enough to make a painting, it takes all the elements and planning to carry through to a complete and solid piece.
So, I started getting ideas down with pencil. Very rough but that was all I needed, was the design and division of space. Throughout the creation of this painting, I never forgot what it was that I wanted to capture in this piece. I LOVE the movement of a carousel, it feels like whimsical magic to me and THAT was what I wanted, that memory and that feeling! I did several quick sketches and this was the design that I felt captured my memories with my children.
I had an old strip of linen mounted on gator board, so scaled it out to make 2 sketches, plus the color scheme I wanted.

This is an average of the color harmony that I wanted to carry through my painting.

Using my pencil sketch, I came up with this value study to capture and translate the light as I remember it. I'm really drawn to this lighting and the solid shapes of the darks here.

After working on concept, design and value, I decided to put them down on canvas in little larger study, this is an 9 1/2 x14. It's very raw but I could see where I needed to go from here.
Wasn't quite satisfied with the larger color study and thought I'd better simplify the masses a bit. This is a tiny sketch, something like 4x6 ish?
And the final painting is above!


Jane said...

Absolutely beautiful, Kami! Senstively painted yet a dramatic effect. Love it! Jane

Behnes said...

Thank you for posting all your steps and sketches. I think your patience and work paid off. I love the glow of the lights and the glare of light through the carousel. The soft detail of the face draws the eye and give it a dreamy quality.

Kami Polzin said...

Thanks Jane! There are so many subtle colors, it's hard to capture that on photo. . :)

Kami Polzin said...

Thank you Behnes! I knew I needed to plan this one out, most of the time I just go off of a study that I've done in the field or work from life but this one I really had to come up witha composition that I would be sure would work. It was worth the effort I think, I'm not sure it would have worked out without all the studies.
Thanks for checking in!

腳亞子 said...

給你一個鼓勵 ..................................................

JohnB said...

Beautifully done and I loved seeing your concept, and the painting, taking shape.
There are several carousels in my area, the one I remember most as a kid being at the zoo (which is still there). The "whimsical magic" of it that you described so beautifully is what I loved about it and remember so well.
An absolutely beautiful painting and great post.

Kami Polzin said...

Hi John, thank you! I appreciate your commment. I think magic and it's moments need to be captured and remembered MORE in our life time. Memories of these moments can be almost as precious as the moments themself. I was in my studio the other day looking at the painting and I swear I could smell cotton candy and hear the music of the carousel! It Almost made me wish I would have titled it Cotton Candy Carousel! :)
Thanks again for checking in! Kami

Kami Polzin said...

Another thought. If we painted what we love more often think how elevated our work would be! :)
I remember being told years ago to paint what you love and you will be 'authentic'. Life is so precious that I truly believe that's exactly what we should be doing, painting what we love. No matter if it's loving the light, loving the vibrating color on the Easter radishes or loving the memory of our children on the carousel.

JohnB said...

I absolutely agree Kami about painting what you love. I truly believe that is basic to being true to oneself as an artist but also having the practical skills--accurate drawing, efficient color mixing, etc--necessary to give that observational sensitivity form and substance is equally important. The love of your subject is felt in looking at this painting, and the skill in pulling it off makes it real to the viewer. Nice job.

Marc R. Hanson said...

It's an amazing painting Kami!!! Having been fortunate enough to see this one progress, to know how much you've wanted to paint this and for how long, it's not a mystery to me that you have done such an outstanding job on it. The paint seemed to flow off your brush in a positive way every time I saw it along it's path to being finished.

Though out of the area at your starting this one, and not able to see the first steps, I was amazed at all of the preliminary work that you did before beginning the final painting.

I think that although you've expressed beautifully how deeply you felt about painting this subject for some time now, it was also that preparation that locked in a 'successful' outcome .

You had the ' love of subject ' to make the emotional statement, but you did the groundwork to make the technical statement speak about the emotional side of the concept. That is a lesson for anyone who thinks that these things just magically emerge from a good painter's easel. They do, but with a lot of forethought, planning and experience.

The artists who we remember, those who are valued in major museums and collections; these artists painted from within. There are plenty of artists who can paint 'anything' competently, with skill and a good hand.

Taking the work beyond just a 'good hand' and into the realm of work that brings about an emotional reaction by those who view it is what you've done and is what keeps us all trying this day after day.

I wish you could all see this in person.