The lady in the fur coat…she was my first lady that I sketched out. She was supposed to be only a test, but she turned into a finished piece. I call her “Balance”, now. But, she used to be “Harmony”, and before she turned into a solo painting, she was the first of a trio of paintings. At the last minute she would be replaced for my first show, back in November 2016.
She is drawn in black and gray and influenced by Erté and Edward Gorey. The anatomy of the piece was inspired by the yin-yang, by harmony. Here is the outline:
PLH – my abbreviation for “Peace, Love, and Harmony” – is a collection that started with this yin-yang inspired painting. “Love” was pieced together using the combination of hearts, diversity, showgirls, and dramatic feathers. It was the second completed painting in the collection. Here is a breakdown of the 5 heart outlines (can you see them?):
The last painting in the collection was “Peace”. I do find that this one is a little harder to comprehend than the other two in the collection. Many assume that the ladies are lovers, and they very well might be (that is up to the viewer to decide, I am only the artist). The idea was that their bodies and flowing dresses would create a peace sign. I am happy with the final product, but do understand that the anatomy of this piece is a lot more abstract than I intended it to be. Here is the outline for the peace sign:
When I was done with “Peace, Love, and Harmony” I opened the files up, side by side, and felt an instant sense of irritation. “Peace” and “Love” looked like they were a part of the same collection, but “Harmony” was so dark, she had ZERO color, and she was alone and creepy…I didn’t like that she clashed so much in her solidarity and in her anatomy/color scheme. So, I decided to re-draw “Harmony”.
“Harmony” (aka: “Balance”)
I changed name of the black and white painting to “Balance”; she is currently featured as my only solo painting and she is my FIRST painting featuring one of my ladies. It all started with her: the lady in the fur coat.
The new “Harmony” took longer to draw than all of the others combined. I knew that I wanted to feature two women that were intertwined in some way – one with light skin and one with dark skin, as I wanted to continue the theme of diversity and equality throughout all three paintings. There were so many overlapping pieces. The biggest challenge was bringing out the skin tones of each lady against the backgrounds of the skirts. The hats and feathers helped so that they wouldn’t get lost against the colors of the fabric. A yin-yang is still used as the base for this piece. Here is the outline:
Thank you so much for taking the time to visit my blog! xoxoxo
Try and try, and try, and try…again, and again, and again…… Ctrl+z, Ctrl+z, Ctrl+z,…Ctrl+z……Dang it!!!
It has been three long years since the concept of “Women and Wine” was doodled while sitting in my first apartment in LA. What began as an evolution of rough sketches turned into a few years of tedious trials and errors. Why? Because I could not find the right medium for what I wanted to do. Everything that I tried and tested seemed wrong. Time and time, again, I would visit this project and scrap it. I started with Photoshop – tried out a new comic book technique -, I moved into pastels, and went back to the computer again, and into acrylic paints on canvas….the cycle was never-ending. There would be months, and sometimes periods close to a year, where I turned my back on the paints and mediums. I was frustrated. Nothing clicked, nothing worked…I wasn’t happy with any medium. It all seemed unbalanced, the textures were just wrong…
It wasn’t until November 2016 that I was able to put a finished seal on this project, and it solidified my new art medium in Photoshop (and in perfect timing, right before my art show). Not only was I able to pinpoint the new technique and exceed my initial vision, but I also found my calling in the art world through this project: embracing the neutral beauty of diversity. (I will touch on this in a future post.)
This is a collection near and dear to my heart, not only because of my love of wine, but because of the beauty of the physical differences among women. There are three pieces in this collection; each one features a general grouping of wine (red, white, and blush/rosé – with their proper glasses, of course). They also feature women of color: Asian, African American, and Persian (onlookers assume that she is white, but she is, in fact, Persian). I am proud to say that most people had appreciative and very positive (if not, overwhelmingly positive) responses to the incorporation of colored women in the art. My happiest moment was my last customer, who walked by with her mother, and did a double take. She came back a few seconds after walking by the booth, and looked at the woman featured in “White Wine”. “Oh my gosh! Mom! Look! Look at this! She has my hair!” She paused, took in the painting, and after taking a breath she almost whispered, “Oh my gosh.” She took her hands off of her mouth to rest over her heart, “I have never seen my hair in any kind of art, before. That is my hair! My hair looks exactly like this! That’s my hair!…She is beautiful…”
This is why I create art: to touch people, to make them feel. And it makes me so happy to be able to fill a much-needed gap in the art world that has been lacking for much too long.
Here is the tedious process that went through the creation of “Women and Wine”. I hope you enjoy it!
A dear friend of mine reached out to me recently, in light of some hardships that she was dealing with in regards to her health. She asked me if I would be able to draw her the concept of “healing”. With her humble permission, she allowed me to post a step-by-step process of this painting.
I hope that this picture brings you joy and lifts your spirits, Tori. I hope that you ask for help when you need it, that you will allow others to love you, and that you will also take the time to love and take care of yourself as much as you love and take care of others. Trust in God. May he lift you up and comfort you; may he free you from worry and give you peace. I hope that you get well, very soon.
Love Your Friend, Erika
The following is a Photoshop tutorial, using a twist on a new layering technique that I stumbled upon at the end of last year. I hope you enjoy it. Thank you for visiting, everyone. And thank you again, Tori, for your permission to post.