3/18/10

FINISHED GRATE PAINTING

This is my third GRATE painting. The first one, done nearly 10 years ago, was about 5 x 7 inches, the next 20 x 26 inches, with this one being 26 by 40 inches. It's been a while since I've had so much fun while painting a picture.

The whole process, from dodging traffic while taking photos of the man hole covers and grates - to the preparation and design - to the actual wonderful painting time, has been both challenging and exciting to do. Traffic actually stopped a couple of times on that cold rainy Sunday afternoon while I stood in the center turn lane taking photos of some really great grates. The cars could have gone around us, but the drivers were so polite and careful to wait for me. At another location, a man circled around to ask if we needed help. When we told him we were taking pictures for art, he moved on. Crazy artists! Thanks, Betsy, for driving, for stopping, for joining in on the fun.

Grates have fascinated me since childhood, when I was afraid to walk on them. I love the lines and edges, the lettering, the strength they have, and especially the patterns and textures that the paint and rust make. Some are really works of art in themselves. Now anywhere there's been a neat one underfoot, a photo is a must. In my studio you can find quite a photo collection of amazing grates.

One of my self imposed challenges for this painting was to create a design with circular shapes that allowed eye movement from shape to shape. Squares, equilateral triangles, and circles are predictable shapes that usually capture the viewer's eye, to the point of stopping eye movement in the painting completely. Using both value changes and color contrasts helped to create a flow throughout the painting.

The second challenge was to paint a more curvaceous painting. When painting, I always seem to prefer straight edges over curves, so doing the reverse could help me stretch a little. Somehow the challenges helped me stay directed.

I'm super pleased with the results. Sounds like a 'pat on the back,' but it's not. It just makes me very happy with how the painting turned out, and I really enjoy looking at it. It's almost as if it appeared on the paper magically, and I had little to do with it. (That's not true, of course, since there are more than 50 hours of work (play) in its actual creation.) Check the previous post on this blog for the work in progress of this grate painting. You'll see that several changes were made from that post to this finished piece.

Don't you LOVE textures? They are so incredibly inspiring and tantalizing. Artists HAVE to paint them, don't we? Since this is Fluid Acrylics on YUPO, creating amazing textures was just way too much fun. At first, my focus was on developing a good composition, then the textures were a blast to add after that was worked out.

It's been said that texture is the 'icing on the cake.' If the painting's a good one, people will want to get closer, then be surprised by the textures and details. If the painting has a weak composition, they may pass by it too quickly, and even the most wonderful textures in the world won't make them stop and look.

I really hated for this painting to be done. And the title is still undecided. GRATE JUNK - GRATE EXPECTATIONS - ROAD TRIP - UNDERFOOT - AMAZING GRATES - ETERNALLY GRATE FULL - TREAD ON ME - HITTING THE PAVEMENT...............

Here are photos of my other two grate paintings. The 'close up' grate is Watercolor on YUPO, and the Italian Grates are Fluid Acrylics on YUPO, completed about two years ago. Now for the next one!!!!!!!




23 comments:

Paul Kasmir said...

WoW,WoW

It was nice at the last passage but now its a piece of ART!!

Billie Crain said...

Thank you so much for sharing your process, Sandy! This turned out incredible. I got a visual of you stopping traffic to photograph rusty old grates with your partner in 'crime' waiting behind the wheel and got a good chuckle, too.

Btw, I vote for Eternally Grate Full as a title.:)

Stan Kurth said...

Stunning work. I agree with Nick, this is for sure a prizewinner!

Ann Buckner said...

Outstanding, Sandy!

Joan Sandford-Cook said...

What a unique subject and, oh boy, how you have turned them round into a stunning piece of artwork. Colours, shapes, composition, texture all a delight to note. Sounds a bit dangerous all this preparation and research though. Glad you have polite drivers out your way!! My favourite title is AMAZING GRATES, but thats probably because it was my grandma's favourite hymn! Everything you do inspires your admiring followers - me especially.

Nancy Goldman said...

The textures and colors are beautiful in this. Is this liquid acrylic?

Watercolors by Susan Roper said...

Sandy - I am bowing to you (a virtual one) and your creativity and expertise with Yupo! Your joy in creating this piece glows through your description and inspires me so much. This piece is so well-planned and executed and all of that shows in the finished piece. Wonderful!

jane minter said...

FANTASTIC sandy !

italian manholes IDRANTE is FIRE HYDRANT :)

2 Soul Sisters said...

COOLZY - thanks for sharing!
http://2soulsisters.blogspot.com/

Kathy Wirth said...

I vote for Amazing Grates!

Cynthia said...

This is definitely a winner!!!
I really like the different choices for a title....all original...Eternally Grate Full..Amazing Grates....makes me smile :) Grate Junk....the list goes on. The work speaks for itself..just plain Great Grates.

Linnie said...

Love it. I'd call it the Grateful Red.

Ginny Stiles said...

Thanks for the alcohol tip on removing acrylics from Yupo...I did not know this! Now I feel more confident. The great grates are wonderful. Not only the composition but the choice of colors. You are a magnificent artist and you combine both drawing, composition, choice of subject and color theory in such a way to make it look easy. BUT I KNOW BETTER! I love the circle feel to this one. I am going to probably get run over now looking at grates around town!!!

Barb Sailor said...

All I can say is WOW! You have taken everyday utilitarian objects that we see every day and created an awesome work of art. This certainly encourages us to look at the things around us with a different perspective. Great Painting!

Chris Beck said...

Sandy, I think this one is destined for "grateness" -- Just love the painting -- superb in every way!!

Michelle Himes said...

Wow, this is so cool! I love the textures you created. I like the title "Amazing Grates", "Grate Expectations" isn't bad either. Although, if you lived in New Jersey, "Grate Adventure" would be perfect as we have an amusement park by that name. :-)

Sandy Maudlin said...

What GRATE comments from such GRATE bloggers! Your creativity and cleverness is inspiring. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. Keep painting!

RHCarpenter said...

I'm not sure which I like most - the painting, or the story of how you stopped traffic to take photos of grates! ha ha

Sandy said...

This is so beautiful! It's been way too long since I've stopped by. One of these days I'll have to catch up here.

Sandy Maudlin said...

i like it because it looks like lots of quarters.

Sandy Maudlin said...

i like it because it looks like lots of quarters.

Robin Neudorfer said...

Great challenge, and the end result is stunning.
First time to your blog. I will return.

Mary Sheehan Winn said...

WOW! I love it.