Sunday, September 7, 2008

Start of Minoan Priestess ACEO Painting

An ACEO is tiny artwork, reproduction or original, in the format of an art trading card. My newest ACEO involves collage again, but a collage of hand drawn images rather than magazine cut-outs. A scan of the drawing stage is included here.

In the center of the card stand the famous Minoan Poppy Priestess, or Goddess. The small statue the figure is based upon holds two snakes in her hands with the heads pointed down, (see image at left). I can't explain quite why, but this feels wrong to me, so I have drawn my sacred serpents heads up. In the sky of my drawing, on the right hand side, hovers a Mediterranean bee in flight. The bottom left shows an upright dolphin, splashing out of the waves of the sea. The lower right corner sits an octopus, referenced from recovered Minoan pottery, and fitted curling into the tiny scene, (shown at right).

When working with paper, it's important to be careful with the graphite. Too much graphite from the drawing pencil, and eraser marks, can stop later paint layers from sticking to the paper, often causing a blurb or muddy looking spot. A spray fixative will stop all migration of graphite, but textured papers can still be difficult to get a clean erase. Pressing too hard when drawing will leave indentations, so a light pressure was used. Notice on the left hip of the figure is out of alignment. Due to the heavier amount of graphite, and the small work space, I'm going to need to correct those lines with paint later. This would have been avoided with better planning before getting started, but this was one of those instances inspired by doodle play; I didn't really know what the picture was going to be when I began. Anything in art can be "fixed" with skill and an open mind, knowing the inward mental picture must be altered to the action taking place.
The first layers of thin paint will pull on the drawing lines and mix with the graphite. With care this can be used to create under-painting tones of shadows and highlight. Fellow artists may find it interesting to note that Prismacolor Pencils also mix slightly into the paint. Notice in the background I've lain in a light color tone of blue and green pencil. The paint softened the pencil strokes and filled in the bumpy textured areas of the paper surface. This was achieved by thinning an already thin bodied acrylic paint 50/50 with clean water. A small medium bristled paintbrush is loaded and white paint floated onto the paper. Working a small area before it dries, the paint is lightly scrubbed into the pencil pigment blending it about; this works with all water media. Each layer after that will be more opaque, and the graphite will mostly disappear to the eye. By keeping early paint layers thin, paper buckle will be avoided, and later thicker strokes will stand out (pop) giving greater depth.
These are methods I use for any sized image on paper, and indeed often when painting my Spiritkeeper Stones too. I wouldn't have considered myself, in the past, to be a painter of miniature art because my Spiritkeepers are something just outside of art to me; being closer to a spiritual experience. I don't think much about size when painting on rocks, but it is obvious the tiny world of art collector cards isn't all too different. Hopefully you'll enjoy seeing how the Minoan Priestess ACEO turns out.

*Original art images ©Tree Pruitt, unless otherwise indicated. Contact the artist prior to ANY use or for purchase information.

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