If you follow my blog you probably know I paint bits and pieces of memories or feelings that I have experienced in my life at some time or another. I have experienced an undue amount of insomnia lately. I am not sure why, or the causes that make my nights so incredibly sleepless, but it makes for interesting thoughts on painting. When I was young I was in 4-H and I raised animals. I would feed,water, and fall in love with them and then would show them in a competitive exhibition at the beginning of the next year. It was a mixed emotional time, as we had to let them go after they were grown and sold. I was always told they were used for breeding stock and had happy lives, but I am sure that was not entirely true. My family knew I would never let them go otherwise. I raised lambs and then added hogs to my repertoire of animal husbandry. I had a sincere fondness for the lambs, even now I can still smell the sweet wooly odor of them. They were so gentle and seemed to adore being curry combed and brushed. My favorite lambs were the Hampshire breed. There was something so sweet and mysterious about their black velvety noses, ears, and soulful eyes against their creamy thick wool coats that I loved.
I have merged memory and reality together to make this latest painting. Perhaps now I can sleep; since I have given so many days and nights to this subject of insomnia.
The first image is almost a week in on the layering process. I thought I really liked this stage but when I looked at it with fresh eyes, I realized it did not feel complete to me. The sheep and the background seem a bit too well meshed together to represent the content of it. The lamb looks good, but in relation to the background the lamb is not really standing out to me. If he is to be counted he needs more definition. Although it is not apparent in the photo of the painting; the numbers are dimensional and stand out about a quarter of an inch in height. I wanted something to have a different dimension in the piece. It seemed to fit the world of sleep. The dimensional aspect of the numbers made the sheep meld even more into the background.
In the final stage, although not much has changed drastically, the lamb has become a bit more defined not through details but in values, which helped to give it more weight without over-weighting him with rest of the painting. I also added several more layers to the bottom areas of the painting giving it more richness and weight as well.
I will think about it a bit more, but for now I think it is finished.
Insomniacs Slumberland by Cathy Hegman 45 x 45 acrylic on panel
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