Wednesday, July 24, 2013

An old print and a poem (a little commission)

A few weeks ago a coworker came to me and asked me if I would do a little assignment for her. She had this picture of a very old print which depicted a bunch of clouds over a landscape and she had a poem by Goethe about different forms of clouds and what they mean. The original idea was to simply combine the two digitally into one picture, but the quality of the print was so abysmal (and it was stained quite a lot too) and the picture so small it was impossible to do that and still have something worthwhile to hang on your wall.

Since she knew I could paint a little she asked me if I would combine the old print and the text in a handpainted picture. Since the image was so old it was okay copyrightwise and it was also a little challenge to see if I could turn the little image into a bigger painting with words added to it. So to work I went.

My first try I did in watercolour and it looks like this:

It's about A3 in size and done on 400gsm acrylic paper. The colours are pretty true to the original.

A close up. I really struggled with the clouds. Clouds are hard! (insert whiny voice here)

The acrylic paper was my own, but she had also given me some paper to work with. It was good quality Arches paper, but not really suitable for watercolour. I did do a second one though as an extra challenge to myself and decided to do this one in gouache. I was right about the paper, it was very absorbant, so you could do like one stroke and it would just suck the water right out of your brush! ;-) But I persevered and here's the result of that attempt. 

It's less true to the original, but actually I like it more. It's also bigger, so the words fitted better.

A close up. I think these colours are more 'me', more bright and alive.

To both paintings I added the poem in handwriting with a drawing pen. This was pretty scary. One mistake and the whole thing would be ruined! Here's a sample: 

Yes, it's in German, of course it is. I had to look extra hard at the words to make sure I spelled everything right.

And here they are side by side. The bigger one I taped to a drawing board so it would buckle less while I worked on it. That's why there's a white edge around it. 



I'm pretty pleased with the result even though as I said the clouds gave me a serious headache. My coworker is happy too (thank God) and will pay me a nice fee for my art supply fund. ;-)

I don't really consider this art though. This is more craft than art. After all I'm just using other people's images and words and put them together to form a picture. It's copying really. If the image wasn't already that old and free of copyright,  I would not even have done it. But now it was a nice little challenge and a way to do something for my coworker that made her happy and get paid for the whole thing too, haha.

Wishing you all a wonderful and artsy Wednesday!

4 comments:

  1. I consider this a major art piece. It is far removed from any type of art journaling.
    I liked the fact that you really liked the finished results. I am drawn to the darker clouds and found them to be very realistic but, that is just the way they are painted and the contrast with color is very bold.
    I just know your client was very pleased. The writing style is beautiful. Thanks for sharing.
    Barb
    USA

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your kind words Barb, but for me art should at least be original. There's skill here for sure, but the art-part belongs to the original drawer of the print (whoever he was) and writer of the poem (Goethe).

      Delete
  2. What a neat project, Caatje! I like how they turned out, with the text/image combination.

    ReplyDelete

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