Thursday, June 4, 2015

CSOPA 'Faces of Children' Exhibition at Lockwood-Mathews Mansion

 If you follow me on Facebook, you already know this story, but the past two months have been a whirlwind of activity, both creatively and spiritually. Even though I did encounter some health challenges, I overcame them with a vengeance and focused on the positivity and gratitude which permeated every fiber of my being whenever I simply thought of the opportunities and experiences I've had since 11/11/11, my first exhibition.

Of course, I will include my work in progression for the Childhood Portraits Exhibition by the Connecticut Portrait Society (CSOPA), since it gives you a glimpse inside my often chaotic mind. I offer no apologies for this since I've come to accept that it is after the chaos that things always seem to fall into place. It's the nature of the ebb and flow of the Universe and without it, we wouldn't learn or grow. This progression was definitely a learning process for me just as all my more messy configurations tend to be.

I was honored to be matched with a beautiful 3-year-old boy. I started the piece in March and didn't finish tweaking until the night before the exhibition. I cannot be trusted to leave a painting alone before a show because of course, an artist's work is never done...

 I decided to begin the acrylic painting in grisaille in order to increase the dimensionality of the translucent color effects within the skin and expression. I also started using the Masterson Sta-Wet Palette which keeps the acrylics completely fresh as if you just squeezed them out of the tube...for days. You simply soak the paper in hot water for 20 minutes and saturate the sponge. One trick I've found online to keep the sponge from developing mold or bacteria (which, for the record hasn't happened yet but I'd rather not experience it) is to add a few drops of clove oil to the sponge saturation. However, knowing what I know about tea tree oil (it kills MRSA if undiluted and at only 5% of any solution it kills staph), I like to use only 2-3 drops of that which so far seems really effective.

The consistency of the paint on the Sta-Wet palette after a day or more becomes much thinner, so I mainly use it for layering techniques, especially within the skintones and hair. For detail, such as hair strands or detail on the outline or within the eyes, I use a tiny 00 brush and paint at full concentration using a simple paper plate palette. Why do I use a paper plate? Well, I hate having a mess on an old palette. And I feel the need for a 'clean slate' energetically every time I embark on a new piece.

I decided to block in the warm background which I decided would be yellow-toned, which imparted a happy, positive vibe
. I also felt like it contrasted perfectly with the blues in his shirt and eyes. Even though I knew in my mind's eye the hair would have a lot of reds, oranges and golden tones which could blend, I would also include enough cool, dark tones to make certain areas appear further away.
Here is where I began adding more depth, shadow and detail to the hair, facial structure and textures. I went from dark cools to light warms with the hair. Although I was satisfied with the 'essence' of my subject, there was a luminosity missing. This wasn't a simple matter of adding was creating light and reflection wherever I felt it was needed.

This was the end result! The reception at the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion was a hauntingly beautiful experience with the charms of being in a grand structure with so much history.

Maya Trimner at CSOPA Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Child Portrait ExhibitionThis Victorian mansion was breathtaking, with it's cathedral ceilings, stained glass windows and marble floors down to the stoned cellar which led down to the restrooms which made you feel like you were walking through the hallways of Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast'.

As someone who grew up with food allergies since birth, I reached out to Enjoy Life Foods about the art exhibition opening reception that took place on May 9th, 2015 in Norwalk, CT. I knew that the museum was a completely nut-free environment for the children so I figured this was a good opportunity for my favorite Top 8-free gluten-free allergy-friendly snack company to introduce their stuff. Enjoy Life Foods was generous enough to donate 300 pieces for the children or adults with food allergies!

I try to avoid crowds and need a certain amount of personal space, so here I was in the room's corner pocket. I was passing out apple caramel granola bars and their infamous chocolate chip cookies, which disappeared pretty quickly, since they were so delicious people couldn't even notice they were gluten-free and free of the Top 8 allergens until they read the package.

After the exhibition, of course we were really hungry so we stopped at my new favorite Indian spot in CT...Saffron. Pinky is the owner and matriarch of this family-owned establishment. She was very accommodating to all of my requests and made me a special plate of chicken tikka masala and steamed white rice without the vegetable oil, which was absolutely delicious! They were very careful not to cross-contaminate with nuts or oils that I could not have and also made sure there was not a speck of gluten in the food. Although the establishment is small and modest, the food is absolutely phenomenal and my mom who is an Indian food aficionado was highly impressed. I will most definitely be back there again.

My next paintings are going to be ultra special and close to my heart; one of which will hopefully make it into next year's CSOPA Spring 2016 exhibit and the second which is going to be a tribute to my grandfather...stay tuned!

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