After moving towards the family connection that I discovered and emerged with my previous painting, I started doing a lot of research about my Great Aunt. As I discussed in my previous posting, she taught at Manzanar during the war, and then worked for the Military as a teacher in the occupied zones of Europe in the years directly following WWII. She was stationed in Salzburg, Austria when she fell in love with Austria. Her entire life she considered Austria to be her home. In fact, her esate still owns the cemetary plot she originally wanted to use when she passed, but then she changed her mind. I think that another (perhaps future) 20 Time project could be to write a book about her life. It was fascinating, always on the move to teach in exotic locations for the children of military families.
Back to this painting. I wanted to paint the mountains of Salzburg, Austria. Having never been to Salzburg, the closest I've been is to spent the night in the train station in Vienna, I only know what the mountains look like from pictures and the movie, "The Sound of Music." I turned to Google to look at Austrian mountains. I decided to try and paint some mountains similar to what I saw when I looked up the Austrian Mountains.
The first thing that I did is to create the background because like building a house, the foundation is everything. It is also where I can practice what I learned in week 2 of the project, make sure you plan ahead and see the whole canvas. I wanted to have some snowy mountains and, since the Von Trapp (Sound of Music reference above) family lived on a lake, I wanted water. I painted the mountains, added snow and shadow, then decided to put another range in the foreground to add depth and the illusion of high peaks. From the images I've seen the Alps are massive, and I think that adding a range in the forground helps to add to that perslective of size.
In the other two oil paintings, I did ok up until this point. I am good at getting the foundation and central background together. This is where it usually falls apart. The last time was because I tried to make the paint stretch a bit further than it should have. I was not about to make that same mistake again. I purchased way more paint than I needed. I also ordered some really expensive canvas coating paint to help my colors blend and move along the canvas more easily.
I wonder what the ancient Egyptian artists did when they made a mistake? They didn't have oil paint, or any pre-treatments (that I have been able to find) for the tomb walls. They made their paint by grinding up minerals, and then mixing it with something like egg yolk or tree gum. Occasionally they would grind up the insides of insects to bind the powder together for their paint.
If I need to use a treatment for the canvas, am I "cheating" on the painting? Is cheating on a painting even possible? What would be considered "cheating" on a work of art? I think I worry about "doing it right" so much is because for most of my life I never thought I had any artistic talent, and as it turns out, I have a hidden natural talent. I sent a friend of mine who is a profesisonal painter and illustrator the finished version of this painting. She said that she could feel that I was more relaxed with this one. I am finding my own "swing" on the canvas.
Every Summer my family and Jon's would go to a lake and camp for a week. It was a YMCA family camp lake at Lake Sequoia. The lake has some distinctive features, including a foothill that creates an inlet into the lake. I'm sure many lakes have an inlet similar, but to me this one looks just like the one at Sequoia Lake. I wanted to re-create that part of the lake to make sure I put him into this painting.
I think that if my Great Aunt were still alive, she would enjoy my painting. I think it would remind her of her younger years in Austria. My next 20Time project is definately going to be to write a book about her life. I can illustrate it myself now!
The Sound of Music. (n.d.). Retrieved July 20, 2015.