Wednesday, April 8, 2009

New project hits close to home

I'm beginning a new project that I expect will require many weeks to complete. It's also a painting that I've been putting off for years.

My father wants me to paint the home in which he and his siblings grew up. The house burned back in 70s, so I all I have are old photos of the place. His siblings and their spouses have also expressed an interest in the project, and have been searching for more photos. So now I have the formidable expectations of my father to meet, and more still.

Here's an example of the challenge I face. This photo includes one of my great uncles, a cousin, and a neighbor. I think the image was made in the 1950s. And this photo is about the clearest image I have of the house. The structure appears in random photographs, but always as a cropped background element as photos were taken of my dad and his siblings, other family members, a pony, farm equipment, etc.

From these fragments, I can create rough line drawings, but I need better information on the structure as sunlight passes over it -- the key element I look for as I create realistic paintings.

To counter the limited information I've gleaned from the photographs, I am taking the experimental step of building a rough model of the house from foamcore and shining a light on it to simulate the effect. I'll update that project as it moves along.

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