Wednesday, October 3, 2012

An Art Sequence: Los Muertos Traviesos

 Los Muertos Traviesos (detail). Mixed media on wood.
The upcoming show, HoliDay of the Dead, got me excited to make a brand new piece, instead of sending an existing work.  When the art was complete, I began examining my process; especially after reading about several other artist's "creation sequences". Below, I offer mine; for this piece; for what it's worth:

 For me, it's almost all about daydreaming, night dreaming, and sketches (not necessarily prelims). I just float along and try not to force anything at first.  I sketch whenever there's down time, and they are mostly stream-of-consciousness doodles.  Those above are an example of that--the fellow on the lower right must be a favorite, because from him has sprung many artworks.

 Here he is on the left, in a different iteration (
So a guy with stripes became a guy sort of wrapped.
Wide Awake and Fast Asleep. Mixed media on wood. (
I loved his fellow--he made me want to do the new artwork in a similar fashion, so my motif and my media choices were made!
Sketches specific to the project came next.

I've been obsessed with the Danse Macabre, by Saint-Saens, since I was eight,
when (the beautiful) Miss West played it for us in music class. Recently, I've been listening to it over and over, and reading lots of Victorian ghost stories as well (I tend to get locked into things like this often).
Therefore, when I was invited to do a piece for the show, ghosts and graveyards were already dancing in my head.  Above is the first sketch, done on a tiny sticky-note pad at the kitchen table.

 Then I stumbled across a wooden plate-type disc at the Goodwill store. The round format, along with my love for pattern made me re-think the composition. There were many boring prelim sketches--this is but one.
Impatience hits along with confidence, and I jump right into the final. Sometimes that's a mistake, but luckily, not this time. I developed the composition right on the wood, and repeated elements from the center pic for the pattern. 
(I lightly penciled in a very rough placement for the figures, then inked them in. I keep the pencil rough so that I have a lot of flexibility--tweaking as I ink is one of the greatest joys within the process.)

Establishing the darks helps me know where to go with the rest.

 This is right before the color and lighter value application.
Los Muertos Traviesos. Mixed media on wood, approx 12" in diameter.

Here I've painted out the streak-like elements, as my wife pointed out that they looked too much like stalactites. She is almost always right!  Making the sky solid and then adding stars instead was a happy choice. I added a touch of color using acrylic paint for the highlights, and it's ready to be shipped!

And what a great dinnerware pattern, don't you think?

These works and more are now available for purchase. Prices are at my site:
Thanks, as always, for the visit.

1 comment:

  1. Dios... cómo me gustan!!! y pintar sobre la madera es muy agradecido!!!
    precioso terror! je je


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