Not long after I moved down to Los Angeles, four years ago, I broke out my sketchbook and walked through some evolving ideas that turned into the “Women and Wine” collection. As I was doodling page after page of crappy thumbnails, my brain stumbled upon the idea of collaborating women, fashion, and cocktails. My first scribbles were of women standing next to over-sized glasses of alcohol wearing beautiful dresses. The thumbnail sketch for “Champagne” featured a woman whose dress turned into bubbling liquid in a shimmering flute. From there, the collection of three women named for white, red, and rosé wines took shape and was finished in the fall of 2016. I decided to revisit my original inspired sketch so that I could bring “Champagne” to life.
I enjoy the idea of collaborating my old profession, costume design and fashion, into my artwork. Over-exaggeration, extravagant elements, and lots of little details thrill me to no end. It’s an unfortunate thing that I don’t have the finances or the time to create costumes, as many of them cost well over $1000 in materials to create – and I am an all or nothing kind of person with those projects. But, my newfound love of painting in Photoshop has proven to be more than satisfactory.
I enjoy painting and drawing in raw media but more often than not, a lot of very tiny detail is lost within pen scribbles and paint blotches, unless the canvas is over-sized. (And I don’t have room for that in my 200 square foot tiny space.) What I love most about Photoshop is that I can achieve an incredible amount of fine detail that would have been impossible to achieve if I had tried to paint the same thing on the canvas. A lot of my costuming in the past was consumed by rhinestones, bead work, and the tiniest of details. In person, you could see the fine elements on the costumes themselves, but the artwork that went along with them (the concept sketches) were not as exciting. (At least, not to me).
“Champagne” features an abundance of small detail. From her strands of hair, to her delicate jewelry, and the shimmer and glimmer of champagne and chiffon, this painting embodies a subtle strength and definitive elegance.
It is a wonderful feeling to be able to see the improvement in my artwork as I complete each piece. The digital learning curve is starting to straighten out, and I feel that each project that I take into my hands becomes a new favorite of mine.
Above is a video featuring a slideshow of stills from start to finish for “Champagne”. Below are select step-by-step stills and close-ups along with walk-through descriptions and notes. (You will be able to see the detail better on this blog post, as opposed to the video, but the video is fun, too!)
Thank you so much for taking the time to visit my blog! I hope you enjoy reading about and watching “Champagne” as much as I have enjoyed creating her.
Thirty is a big year for many people. It’s a major turning point where we leave behind our ignorant twenties and start solidifying ourselves in the mold of adulthood. It is the beginning of many wonderful adventures, and from what I hear from older generations it is only the start of the best decades that lie ahead of us. On May 27th I turned thirty-one, and I can say with full confidence, that thirty had been the most pivotal and rewarding year of my life. It was filled with a lot of heartache, depression, and turmoil that transformed into growth, forgiveness, confidence, and love. Twenty-nine was the year that I was found. Thirty was the year that I was smashed to pieces and made stronger through adversity. I find that a lot of the people around me are following the same pattern.
A handful of months ago I was approached by a friend, and was commissioned to create a piece that embodied the woman who she aspired to be in the near future. “A woman who loves herself, a woman who is confident in her capabilities, and a woman who is open to what the world has to offer.” She gravitated toward the “Rose Wine” painting that I did last year in the “Women and Wine Collection”, but she wanted a number of changes and additional elements:
Woman to be of average height instead of very tall
Darker skin tone
Medium length flowing curly hair (black with brown/red highlights)
Maxi dress with loose floral pattern and halter top neckline
Lavender and roses
A headband to represent an element of peace
Background maroon, burgundy, or berry red
I have to say that it was quite a challenge trying to balance everything out (but I really do love a challenge!) To date, this is my favorite digital painting. Thank you, Angelica, for setting up an incredible platform. Without your inspiration, this would not have been possible. Here’s to friendship, and a wonderful decade full of life, love, growth, and adventure!
Above is a slideshow of the step-by-step process, and below is the step-by-step process with descriptions for the making of “Angelica”.
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!